SEOUL, Nov. 6 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea’s major department stores are turning their attention to the “vintage” trend to attract the MZ generation, those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, who are emerging as their primary consumer base.
Recognizing that the MZ generation is sensitive to value consumption and familiar with secondhand transactions, department stores are shifting their marketing strategy away from their traditional focus on new products. They are opening dedicated secondhand product stores and making investments in secondhand platforms.
According to industry sources, Hyundai Department Store opened the “Mivent” popup shop at its Mokdong location to purchase secondhand luxury items on October 24. This popup, scheduled to run until November 12, will purchase secondhand luxury items, excluding several brands, based on the evaluation of professional appraisers.
In June, Hyundai Department Store launched a similar purchase service in collaboration with Lux Again. Given the positive customer response, the department store decided to hold additional events with the same concept.
Hyundai Department Store’s secondhand luxury item purchase popups have opened in succession at its Mokdong, Sinchon, and Busan outlets this year.
An official from Hyundai Department Store said, “The secondhand luxury item purchase service is favored by the MZ generation and has a significant impact on attracting young consumers to offline stores.”
The primary reason for the MZ generation’s preference for this type of service is their positive perception of secondhand items. An official from a department store stated, “Among young consumers, the trend of preferring secondhand products is expanding as it allows them to experience a variety of trendy items at relatively affordable prices.”
The MZ generation places a higher value on experience than possession and views secondhand transactions as a form of entertainment. They do not hesitate to sell items they no longer need and are open to buying what they need, whether it’s new or secondhand.
The eco-friendly and value-centered consumption culture that the MZ generation prioritizes aligns with secondhand transactions.
Recognizing this trend early, Hyundai Department Store opened “Second Boutique,” a specialized secondhand item shop at the Uplex of its Sinchon location in September 2022. It was the first of its kind among domestic retailers.
Around 700 customers visit Second Boutique every weekend. Customers in their 20s tend to purchase clothing priced at less than 100,000 won, while those in their 30s and 40s show a preference for luxury items and watches.
In June, Shinsegae Department Store partnered with Viva Trade, a company specializing in vintage clothing, to host pop-up shops for vintage clothes at its Gangnam and Centum City stores. Surprisingly, these retro items were so popular that they generated 500 million won in sales within just one week.
Furthermore, Shinsegae’s Hanam store also operates a boutique called “Brand Nara,” which purchases used luxury items through professional evaluations.
Shinsegae Group’s venture capital firm, Signature Partners, invested in a second-hand trading platform called Lightning Market in January of last year. Since then, both companies have collaborated in various ways, including selling products from Lightning Market’s premium store, Brigade Collection, on SSG.com.
Last October, Lotte Department Store opened a physical store for ClosetShare, a fashion sharing platform, at its Gangnam branch. ClosetShare allows users to lend out their unwanted clothes to others and make money, as well as sell second-hand items.
A retail industry insider noted, “As the trend of value-driven consumption gains popularity among the younger generation (MZ), the demand for second-hand goods is also on the rise. Given the ongoing high-price trend, it is expected that second-hand-related services will continue to expand for the time being.”
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)