How much money you can save buying second-hand clothes

Wanting to buy some second-hand clothes? Read on to find out which online marketplaces will see you save the most money.

a fashionable woman standing in front of a yellow background
(Image credit: Unsplash)

On the hunt for some second-hand clothes? You're not the only one. With the cost-of-living crisis placing an even greater emphasis on the importance of buying second-hand clothes, the use of sustainable shopping apps is on the rise. You have probably already heard of eBay, one of the largest and most successful e-commerce websites on the market, and you may have heard of Depop, a popular fashion marketplace that flogs stylish clothing from every decade. But there are a few more that may take your fancy, from the under-£5 bargains that can be found on Vinted to the heavily reduced vintage garments sold on Vestiaire Collective. 

With such a wide variety of second-hand clothing apps to choose from, it can pretty hard to know which one to go for. To help you on your quest to source a stylish second-hand wardrobe, check out the table below to discover the average price of clothing from different retailers. So, read on to find which app is right for you, as well as hear about some of my own experiences with shopping second-hand.

 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 DepopVintedVestiaire CollectiveeBay
Shoes£90.20£9.70£230£11
Jackets£23.60£5.30£423£18.50
Tops£30.70£6.20£110£7
Trousers£19.60£8£231£10.55
Dresses£25.20£7£190£13

a selection of vintage clothing

(Image credit: Unsplash)

Depop

Having used Depop sporadically since around 2016, I feel that I am well-versed in the pros and cons of this app. There’s no denying that Depop has variety when it comes to fashion. It's got quite the range from popular high-street brands to rare vintage designer pieces from the 90s. Depop is a great place to shop if you have a specific item in mind, as the sheer volume of listed garments means that you have a fairly high likelihood of finding it. I also love the curated selection of pieces that refresh weekly, as I have discovered some hidden gems this way. 

However, it must be said that Depop is not the cheapest option. In recent years, demand for clothing from the 90s and 00s has massively inflated prices, putting it out of budget for many customers searching for a thrifty second-hand wardrobe. I can assume that buyers put up with these sky-rocketing prices as the app’s algorithm seems to be really accurate and the app is easy to use – basically, customers can’t resist the perfect piece of second-hand clothing, even if it is slightly pricey! 

Pros:

  • Loads of really interesting clothes to choose from. You can easily find yourself scrolling for hours as you may find that you’re spoilt for choice.
  • The Depop fee is covered by the seller, so you won’t find yourself paying an extra couple of quid for no reason.
  • The app is extremely user-friendly. It rarely glitches and Depop will often curate a collection of items that it thinks you may like, saving you some valuable scrolling time.
  • Bargains can be found, but be prepared to wade through some fairly overpriced items to find them.
  • A lot of sellers accept reasonable offers made on their items – if you’re lucky, you may find some items reduced by around $5 or offering free shipping. This is a great way to knock a few pennies off your second-hand purchase, but make sure your offer is sensible, as many sellers don’t take kindly to lowball offers!

Cons:

  • As mentioned above, Depop does tend to feature some fairly expensive items. I found this particularly noticeable as I re-downloaded the app in 2023 after not using it for a few years - I found that prices had skyrocketed since 2020, and it took longer to find items that wouldn't break the bank.
  • I have also found that sellers can be somewhat unreliable. If you’re after a speedy delivery, this may not be the app for you as some sellers can take 2 weeks or more to ship out your item. When you have already paid a substantial delivery fee this can be slightly painful! However, buyers are protected against scams through both PayPal and Depop, so you will eventually get your money back if the seller goes quiet. 

tshirts on a hanger

(Image credit: Unsplash)

Vinted

Of all the second-hand apps I have used throughout the years, I’d have to say that Vinted is my favourite. As you can see from the prices above, items sold on Vinted rarely surpass the £15 point, making it a much cheaper alternative to its competitors. I have found so many great things on Vinted, including a blue, fluffy jacket from Topshop reduced from £80 to £17 and a denim waistcoat from the 70s for under a tenner.

Vinted is similar to Depop. However, there appear to be fewer re-sellers and drop shippers. Because of this, the marketplace is full of reasonable price points and high-quality second-hand items. It also seems to attract a slightly less opportunistic crowd. The app appears to market to people looking to clear out their wardrobes as opposed to those looking to flog their charity shop finds for three times the amount that they paid. 

This sense of maturity is reflected in the reliability of the sellers, as you can be assured that your item will be shipped within 7 days or your money will be automatically refunded to your account. This feature means that sellers are motivated to ship orders promptly as they cannot access payment until the buyer has confirmed that they have received the item. Whilst this can be slightly inconvenient for the sellers, it's a great way of ensuring that items are delivered as soon as possible. 

Whilst Vinted is my second-hand clothing marketplace of choice, there are a few issues with the app itself. I would say that the app is not as easy to use as Depop, and searching for the perfect item can be slightly more time-consuming. Some sellers post grainy, blurry or distorted pictures of their items, meaning that buyers will often scroll past an item that looks unprofessional. 

Another major irritation is that the Vinted protection fee falls on the buyer - this means that between 3% to 8% of the purchase price will be added to the overall total, not including the price of shipping. While this amount is manageable as Vinted prices tend to be low, the thought of a £5 item suddenly pushing £10 is slightly painful! 

Pros:

  • Cheap price points and high-quality items. 
  • Sellers are motivated to ship promptly so buyers know that they will receive their items within a reasonable time frame.  
  • Loads of items to choose from - buyers can scroll for hours and still get results. 

Cons:

  • Some pictures that are uploaded are not high quality and can cause buyers to overlook them. 
  • Vinted doesn’t curate collections of items you may like, meaning that buyers looking for clothing inspiration may do better on aesthetic apps such as Depop or Vestiaire Collective.  
  • The protection fee falls onto the buyer, making prices slightly higher.  

a pair of heeled shoes

(Image credit: Unsplash)

Vestiaire Collective

Now, this second-hand clothing app is undoubtedly on the pricier side. With a pair of shoes coming in at around £250, there’s no denying that Vestiaire Collective is not for every budget. Much pricier than most of Depop, and miles more expensive than Vinted, this is the place to shop if you’re on the hunt for a second-hand designer item.

In terms of using the app, I really enjoyed it; the listed items tend to be well-presented and clearly lit, a pleasant contrast to the somewhat murky listings of Vinted. Despite its high pricing, I can’t really fault the app for this - Vestiaire Collective is vocally a provider of luxury and designer items that may or may not cost a small fortune, meaning that buyers will likely know what they are getting themselves into. 

Other positive features of the app include international shipping, thousands of new arrivals, designers who feature their own brand-new clothing and a wide selection of clothing and accessories. Also, the app frequently features promotions and deals that are displayed clearly on the home page. These can include selections of items under a certain amount or seasonal selections. This means that buyers have access to inspiration that can limit the amount of time spent endlessly scrolling. Furthermore, buyers can pay extra for an authenticity guarantee, meaning that the likelihood of being scammed by a fake designer item is small. 

However, I would say that this app isn’t for everyone. There is little variation between sizes, as items tend to be on the smaller size. This seems to be a theme with designer clothing, as most garments are between sizes 4 and 10, meaning that mid and plus-size buyers may struggle to find something that fits. Furthermore, whilst customers can pay extra for an authentication guarantee, there is little to prevent sellers from embellishing the descriptions of their items. This can cause the quality of some items to differ from their description. 

Pros:

  •  On the pricey side, Vestiaire Collective is marketed towards customers wishing to invest in premium designer clothing which will come at a steeper price point than some of its competitors.  
  •  The app is easy and enjoyable to use, with items tending to be listed using high-quality pictures. 
  •  International shipping means that customers can browse items from different countries around the world.  
  •  Various promotions and deals are updated frequently. 
  •  Buyers can pay an extra fee for an authenticity guarantee.  

Cons:

  •  There seem to be few options for mid-size and plus-size customers.  
  •  Some items have been known to differ from their descriptions. However, I would argue that is the case with most second-hand clothing apps.  
  •  Very expensive - this one is not for those with tight purse strings! 

A purple handbag

(Image credit: Unsplash)

eBay

 A firm favourite amongst fans of second-hand clothing, eBay is one of my go-to sites when it comes to finding pre-loved fashion. Whilst it may not be the most aesthetically pleasing site- I’m not a huge fan of the seemingly thousands of pages available to scour through- there’s no denying that eBay has millions of second-hand items to choose from. Customers can choose between bidding for an item or offering a price to the seller. Alternatively, many products are listed exclusively as ‘Buy It Now’. The prices tend to be reasonable, with some items starting bidding at just 99p. 

However, the idea of entering a bidding war with strangers may be enough to put you off. You have to be on your toes and prepared to set timers to ensure you enter a high bid with just seconds to spare. There is nothing more thrilling than winning a bidding war at the very last moment, but the feeling of just missing out on the second-hand item of your dreams is infuriating! 

Pros:

  •  Thousands of new listings are added daily, so you’ll be sure to find what you’re looking for. 
  •  Buyers can easily apply filters to narrow down the search results, making it easier to find some stylish bargains.  
  •  The bidding system can often mean that buyers can pay very little for some great finds. 
  •  Buyers can choose between the bidding system or can choose to send an offer to the seller.  

Cons:

So, if we look at the average prices of clothing and accessories for each marketplace, it would be fair to say that Vinted will see you saving the most money on your second-hand clothing. This aligns with my own opinion, as I can firmly say that Vinted is the app that I use most frequently. However, it’s important to note that all four second-hand marketplaces feature a variety of different pros and cons that make all of them worth considering. If shopping second-hand sounds like your cup of tea, check out this article about shopping sustainably and saving money with preowned clothing apps.  

Mazy Wyeth
Editor

 

Hi there! My name is Mazy and I’ve been a part of the vouchers world since November 2022. After studying English Literature with Creative Writing at university, I realised that I would love to incorporate writing into my career - so here I am! 

You could say that I have a mild addiction to online shopping, specifically second-hand shopping; you probably won’t find me spending thousands on a brand-new outfit, but you will find me deep into a browse of my favourite second-hand clothing apps, including Depop, Vinted, eBay, Preloved and Vestiaire Collective.

With contributions from