TikTok Shop enters the luxury second-hand market in the UK

Threatened with a ban in the US and in the crosshairs of European authorities, the Chinese social network has just announced the launch of a second-hand luxury category in the UK on its marketplace, TikTok Shop.


Following its introduction in the United States six months ago, TikTok Shop, the marketplace of the famous social network adored by young people, is launching a second-hand luxury category in the UK.


The social network’s stated aim is to enable “the community to browse andbuy authentic luxury fashion without ever having to leave TikTok ” and “learn more about luxury fashion, find style inspiration and buy must-have pieces” announces the social network owned by Chinese company ByteDanse.


While the hashtag “pre-loved-fashion” has already generated over 62,000 creations on TikTok, “this launch will enable second-hand fashion brands to reach a whole new audience, as the TikTok community looks for more sustainable and accessible ways to embrace luxury fashion” assures Jan Wilk, Head of Operations at TikTok Shop UK.


For this UK start-up, it will be possible to buy luxury clothing, handbags and other accessories online, with access, for now, to just five UK resale companies approved by Tik Tok Shop, namely Sellier, Luxe Collective, Sign of the Times, HardlyEverWornIt and Break Archive.


Logical entry points

These are logical entry points, as they have “already met with great success on TikTok“. Sign of the Times has over 2.7 million “likes” on the Chinese social network, while Luxe Collective has 1.6 million followers.


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These British platforms are also already well established in their markets, often with a phygital profile. Sign of the Times opened its store in Chelsea back in 1976, before launching online. Sellier, known for its demanding curation, with brands such as Chanel, Dior and Hermès, is expanding rapidly, with physical stores in London and Monaco, as well as a website and app.


Hardly Ever Worn It(HEWI ), on the other hand, is an online pure-player.


“We’ve built up a loyal customer base on TikTok, with hundreds of thousands of followers, so it seemed natural to enter the second-hand category. We’ve just launched our Sellier Selected marketplace, and this partnership with TikTok Shop allows us to pursue our mission: to make luxury fashion more accessible to everyone,” said Hanushka Toni, Sellier’s co-founder and CEO.


Since its launch in 2022, TikTok Shop has sold over a billion dollars’ worth of products. But it is criticized as likely to damage the image of the historic app, by helping the circulation of low-quality or even counterfeit products.


Reassuring users


Aware of the fact that counterfeit goods are flourishing on the online market, even on well-known platforms such as Amazon, Tik Tok Shop is seeking to reassure its future users and the brands that will be exposed.


In the United States, every second-hand brand featured on TikTok Shop must provide certificates from third-party authenticators. TikTok Shop works with services such asEntrupy and Real Authentication for the designer handbags it displays.


And in the UK, the five platforms present on TikTok Shop have their own authentication procedures, assures a spokesperson. According to Bloomberg, TikTok Shop has also joined forces with LVMH, the world’s number one luxury goods company, to develop a common approach to counterfeiting.


Finally, if, despite these precautions, a buyer has acquired a counterfeit product on its marketplace, the social network guarantees a full refund.


Ever more services.


Tik Tok continues to seduce its users with ever more services.


The younger generation’s taste for fashion, luxury and the circular economy, as well as their more limited means than their elders, make this latest initiative relevant.


The value of the second-hand luxury market is estimated at $49.3 billion (45 billion euros) in 2023. TikTok is already well positioned, with over 144,000 posts using the hashtag #secondhandfashion, resulting in around 1.2 billion views. However, TikTok Shop’s move into the luxury second-hand market means it faces competition from established players such as The RealReal, Vestiaire Collective, Depop, Poshmark and Mercari.


Suspicion of espionage


The aim is for the social network to make itself ever more addictive for its users. And this at a time when it is in the crosshairs of many governments, which are wary of this Chinese application, likely to use its users’ data for espionage purposes.


Most European Union authorities have banned employees from using the application on their professional (but not private…) cell phones.


Many European countries (France, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, etc.), as well as the UK, USA, Canada, Taiwan and New Zealand, have also imposed such a ban on their civil servants. At a time when it is battling China in the Himalayas, India has banned the social network completely from its population.


A similar threat looms on the other side of the Atlantic. Last Saturday, the House of Representatives passed a law requiring ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company, to sell the application within a few months. This measure still has to be passed by the Senate and signed into law by Joe Biden, who is in favor of it.


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Featured Photo: © Unsplash

Picture of Sophie Michentef
Sophie Michentef
Sophie Michentef has worked for more than 30 years in the professional press. For fifteen years, she managed the French and international editorial staff of the Journal du Textile. She now puts her press, textile, fashion, and luxury expertise at the service of newspapers, professional organizations, and companies.

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