Farfetch has created a tool to measure the environmental impact of goods bought on its e-commerce platform. The software is part of its efforts to help customers make environmentally-sensible choices, thus promoting the purchase of second-hand items.

The British company, that specializes in luxury fashion, claims that the tool will allow consumers to consider which materials can reduce the environmental impact of their purchase, and to see the environmental savings of incorporating pre-owned purchases in their wardrobes.

It cites data from Luxe Digital showing that the global luxury resale market is growing more than four times faster than the primary luxury market partly due to consumer interest in sustainable fashion. According to the data, total personal luxury sales totaled $365 billion in 2018 and are forecast at $400 billion in 2021, representing a total growth of 9.5 percent. But second-hand luxury items, represented $24 billion in sales, or about 7 percent of the market, in 2018 and are seen at $34 billion next year, up by an estimated 41 percent.

Farfetch has been selling a selection of pre-owned and vintage fashion online since 2010, and in 2019 launched two pilots offering customers the option to sell or donate their pre-owned items.

It also published a report it commissioned, and which is available on its website, analyzing the market of pre-owned items. The survey was carried out between Nov. 29 and Dec. 9, 2019 among 3,000 buyers of pre-owned items equally divided between the U.K., U.S. and China. On average 38 percent of respondents said that over half their wardrobe is made up of pre-owned items. The percentage reaches 51 percent in the U.S., 42 percent in the U.K. and 21 percent in China.

On average they purchased eight pre-owned items in 2019. The U.S. and U.K. pre-owned buyers purchased more clothing, where in China they bought more footwear and jewellery/watches and the average spend in second-hand items last year was $59 in the U.S., $88 in China and $47 in the U.K..

Sixty percent bought the items in stores (74 percent in the U.S., 62 percent in the U.K. and 42 percent in China) and 40 percent online (U.S. 26 percent, U.K. 38 percent and China 58 percent). Shoppers acquired mainly high-street brands, 49 percent, followed by premium brands, 35 percent, and then luxury brands, 16 percent.

The purchase of second-hand items was motived at 42 percent by better prices, 30 percent to find a rare item, 13 percent by environmental reasons and 11 percent by a good past experience. In China, shoppers were more inclined to buy a pre-owned item for its rarity, while Americans and Britons were more driven by price.