Tmall Luxury Pavilion’s trade-in service a boost for secondhand luxury

    Out with the old, in with the new. Tmall Luxury Pavilion has introduced a new trade-in service to encourage sustainable consumption during tough economic times.
    Image: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
      Published   in Retail

    Tmall Luxury Pavilion is promoting sustainable consumption during this year’s 618 festival.

    On June 6, the Alibaba platform launched a trade-in service, allowing consumers to submit information on used luxury items to be appraised and recycled at over 100 luxury brand flagship stores. In return, they can apply the value of their item, along with a subsidy of up to 960 RMB ($134.40), towards a new luxury purchase on the site.

    Regardless of its original purchase location, any product is eligible for recycling if it is authenticated and in 90% new condition or better. This policy applies to apparel, bags, jewelry, shoes, and watches from most major luxury brands, including Hermès, Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton.

    Tmall Luxury Pavilion now offers a trade-in service for lightly used luxury items. Image: Screenshot
    Tmall Luxury Pavilion now offers a trade-in service for lightly used luxury items. Image: Screenshot

    “In response to the country’s advocacy of a green and low-carbon lifestyle, Tmall Luxury Pavilion has launched a trade-in service. At the same time, we hope to work with consumers to achieve upgrades without discarding the old, making fashion more environmentally friendly, and pursuing a more sustainable way of consumption,” Janet Wang, General Manager of Tmall Luxury Pavilion, told Chinese media.

    The Jing Take

    The move comes as Chinese consumers increasingly embrace sustainability concepts.

    However, in action, sustainability efforts in China now primarily focus on reducing food waste and utilizing shared modes of transportation, according to a 2024 Deloitte report. Similarly, social listening extractions by Daxue Consulting indicate that the F&B and automotive industries dominate discussions on sustainability, with fashion accounting for only 5% of mentions.

    In fact, several studies note that Chinese attitudes towards sustainability have more to do with health, product quality, and other perceived personal benefits than environmental concerns. Unsurprisingly, when surveyed by Deloitte, 52% of Chinese consumers stated that material benefits such as rebates and points to exchange for specific items would draw their attention to brands’ sustainable products.

    While sustainable fashion consumption in China has a long way to go, Tmall Luxury Pavilion’s new initiative helps to nurture this habit. Shoppers not only have the opportunity to recoup some of their initial investment on their old luxury items but also receive an additional discount, making it an attractive offer for those seeking the best value amid an economic slowdown.

    The service could also benefit luxury brands by preventing consumers from turning to third-party resellers. Many luxury players have reservations about the secondhand market, including concerns about a lack of control over pricing and brand image.

    This is just one of the changes Tmall is implementing for this year’s 618 festival. The e-commerce giant has also eliminated its pre-sale period in favor of two shopping windows in hopes of offering a more streamlined experience. Luxury brands are already seeing positive results, with Miu Miu and Valentino surpassing their full-day sales from last year within just the first hour of the event.

    The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

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