Collaborative Consumption in Apparels: An Exploratory Study


Fast fashion and overconsumption have contributed to the increase in apparel waste, which has increased concern for the environment. Companies within the apparel industry trying to find innovative sustainable business model, could look around collaborative consumption as a potential path to market competence as well as adequacy. Collaborative consumption could present a solution to environmental anxiety around the apparel industry by supporting the recycle and reuse of existing goods and reducing the recent acquires to overcome landfill waste. Consumer orientation such as fashion- awareness and magnificence realization could even be less characterized in second-hand apparel utilization.

The review of literature on collaborative consumption along with second-hand apparel is taken to understand the relevant insights for the industry, marketers, and consumers looking for more green fashion consumption. The study explores the possibility of adopting collaborative consumption in apparel. A pilot study with 50 respondents has been undertaken to understand the consumer’s perspective.

Literature Review

Traditional apparel manufacturing is progressively seen as a problematic worry from both aspects of community and ecological.

Consumers wish to utilize the goods for a longer period and for more frequently despite changes in the trends, occasions and seasons. To rationalize the worth of the price paid and durability must be favorable. Even though uniqueness is naturally considered as conflicting between the durability and adaptability, sustainable apparels are most attractive when all of these qualities are incorporated  (Tey, Y, S., 2018)

Apparels are nowadays being produced that do not fit a large proportion of the population. The apparel supply chain currently works on a system where the supplier decides what to produce and the consumer selects from this predetermined offer.

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To develop fashion goods, a complex number of processes present, sizing is one of these processes. Poor clothes fit have placed significant implication for creating landfill waste (Brownbrige, K., 2018)

Collaborative consumption is an innovative theory in the digital world, which is facilitated through the internet that allows customers to join and collaborate with modest operation expenditure. The definition of Collaborative consumption is “People coordinating the acquisition and distribution of a resource for a cost or other compensation” mainly through the digital method. (Belk., 2014)

Collaborative Consumption is determined by two factors (hedonic motives and utilitarian needs) and remains a discrete segment concept. The foremost obstacles from the customer perspective are health and hygiene concerns, lack of information, lack of trust and ownership, utilization habits and other customer-related obstacles that are complicated to overcome.  (Leifhold., 2018)

Renting and swapping are two kinds of collaborative consumption, which has originated the majority of curiosity within the apparel industry. Consumers who have a positive behavior toward sustainability or have a positive attitude toward collaborative consumption have a stronger objective to acquire renting or swapping in the future. (Lang, C., 2018)

Collaborative consumption features two primary forms of utilization “utility-based non-ownership and redistributed ownership”. Utility-based non-ownership offers temporary and advance paid rentals but in case of redistributed ownership, where the consumer can give the goods through renting or swapping frequently, it may also follow that redistributed ownership is more equivalent to traditional ownership. Consumer behavior about these emerging consumptive phenomena hold three important relationships: consumer-merchandise, consumer-consumer, and consumer-business   (Park, H.,2017)

Collaborative consumption portrays a promising technique to decrease the waste through renting and swapping, by increasing the consumption of apparel above the comprehensive period. Collaborative consumption in apparel includes modes like renting and swapping where ownership is transferable from one to another. (Park, H., 2019)

Second-Hand Shopping

Second-hand shopping is a developing phenomenon worldwide where diversity of cultural or relationship present in purchasing behavior. Due to environmental awareness, online second-hand apparel stores can encourage the use of less wasteful products. (Zaman., 2019)

Consumer beliefs towards second-hand stores are certainly associated with consumer’s approach toward purchasing second-hand apparel. Buying second-hand merchandise is not purely utilization to avoid wasting money, but a practice of humanity like sustaining the society and serving the poor. Second-hand shopping makes an exclusive consumption condition where consumer’s approach is created by their thinking towards the surroundings ( Seo, M. J., 2019)

Changing consumer attitudes and perceptions towards second-hand apparel can motivate them to vary their behavior toward collaborative consumption. Consumer prefers direct practices for obtaining second-hand apparels (direct exchange, buying from second-hand stores and interchange through swapping). Consumer moreover, like to accept their second-hand apparels from their relatives and friends in comparison to others, trusting someone they are familiar with make it easier for them to simply accept  second-hand apparels (Iran, S., 2019)

Buying designer apparel as second-hand was noticed as a method to reinforce social persona, concerning fitting into, fashion self-concept and style identity. The young consumer is concerned with social norms about their fashion consumption and spoke completely about the capability of the apparel rental model to decrease the apparent threat in fashion articulacy. Community implications were frequently the foremost expected to motivate the consumer towards collaborative consumption.  (McNeill, L., 2019)

Children’s garments are the favorable apparel category that focuses on collaborative consumption since children outgrow their garments rapidly. Consumer sells these merchandise to second-hand stores and becomes a part of the supply chain. To retain existing customers and increase profits second-hand sellers offer rewards and loyalty programs to influence the customer to return to the store. ( Gopalakrishnan, S.,2018)

Uncertainty could also be a key issue from an organizational perspective. The organization can’t guarantee that buyers will give the same attention for similar apparel on every exchange. This associate with the consumer experience, as availability of quality and proper fit, are often a worry for the organization which can engage the individuals or not. Consumers becoming suppliers is the way of accountability along with ownership of their apparel utilization, thus creating an inclusive society and neutralize the effect that the apparel industry has created on the environment. (Henninger, C.E., 2019)

Collaborative consumption is an innovative mode of utilization, which may promote sustainability. The positive environmental effect of collaborative consumption mainly asks over the possibility of escalating the use-strength and apparel life and reducing the use of recent apparel. Collaborative consumption generates encouragement for green-design, reusability, also because of the opportunities for brand spanking new specialized and proficient apparel care.(Iran, S., 2017)

The current platform in collaborative consumption of apparel does not emerge to hold sustainable consumption, though some aspects within precise platforms could surely be utilized to reinforce sustainability pointers. Three indicators that can evaluate the digital platforms and have a focus on collaborative consumption: Resource competence, society, and the nature of the business.  (Armstrong, C. M., 2017)


An increasing concern toward ecological sustainability has encouraged the evolution of collaborative consumption, like renting or swapping to realize the importance within the Indian market.

A self-administered questionnaire was developed to collect the responses. Individuals were invited to participate in the study. The questionnaire consisted of a total 10 questions with responses scaled on 5- point Likert scales (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree). The study was undertaken to understand awareness, attitude, and concern toward the collaborative consumption in apparel

Findings & Discussion

The findings of this study suggest that consumers attitude toward collaborative consumption in the fashion industry is determined by their general level of concern for social and environmental well being, their presumption toward sustainable fashion and their prior behavior about collaborative consumption.

Collaborative Consumption encourages second-hand apparel users, and supports the utilization of second-hand apparel as a part of collaborative consumption. Many consumers, however, are hesitant to support these changes or see barriers to the acceptance of second-hand apparel.

The finding illustrates the positive association of consumer’s intention toward contributing to apparel renting and sharing. Renting and sharing persuades consumers to reduce their expenditure and share among the others. Respondent’s sustainable behaviors have stronger intentions to simply accept renting or sharing in the future.

Respondents have a concern about the use of second-hand apparel which can possess hygiene risk to human use. Respondents have also reported a more positive view of second-hand apparel will increase the concept of product longevity. The findings of this study reveal how important “fit Satisfaction” is to evaluate apparel on the body before using it but it also reveals that consumer has a clear thought of what they’re expecting from apparel in term of fit.

Purchasing second-hand apparels aren’t merely utilization to save lots of money, but a practice of humanity like supporting society and helping the poor. Trust within the service provider plays an important role in the adoption of collaborative consumption.

Although collaborative consumption rests on giving away the ownership and belongingness of the apparels, yet past consumption and past ownership may have an impact on future consumption. The relevant variables could be the duration of past consumption and characteristics of past owners.

The findings suggest that consumer beliefs underlying collaborative consumption in apparel renting/swapping/sharing of the Luxury segment. Future study should examine consumer decision-making for the renting/swapping/sharing formal or casual segment


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Collaborative Consumption in Apparels: An Exploratory Study. (2022, May 07). Retrieved from

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