Circular economy models reduce costs, boost sales for brands: study

Costs associated with Swiss outerwear brand FW’s returns under warranty decrease by 60 per cent under the programme, according to a new report on the results of two-year pilots of circular economy models done by FW and UK fashion platform Farfetch that revealed customers are increasingly opting for verified repairs over refunds or replacements.

This, in turn, keeps materials in use, reducing environmental impacts as well as costs, found the report on the trials trials that were first announced in early 2019 and carried out in partnership with ReLondon and QSA Partners.

Farfetch, meanwhile, developed Farfetch Second Life, which enables shoppers to sell designer handbags in exchange for store credit, and Farfetch donate, a partnership with Thrift+ that enables users to raise money for charity and store credit for themselves simultaneously.

The business’s research with consumers after launching these offerings revealed that purchases of pre-owned products replaced a consumer’s purchase of a new item in around 60 per cent of cases.

Elsewhere, Farfetch has tested a first repair service for products like shoes and bags in partnership with UK-based start-up The Restory and has launched a digital tool helping shoppers to compare the environmental impact of products before purchasing. The offerings are all designed to drive progress towards the business’ overarching ‘Positively Farfetch’ sustainability vision.

The new report does not go into detail about other trials taking part under the scheme, with brands including Adidas and Ted Baker, as they are still ongoing. However, it stipulates that similarly positive results are likely, given the growth of markets for fashion resale, repair and rental in the UK and beyond.

Both Farfetch and FW have committed to making the trial offerings more permanent and to exploring further circular economy models.

Aside from the financial returns associated with circular economy models and the reduced environmental footprint, both FW and Farfetch said they experienced higher levels of customer engagement due to the circular models.

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