Our consumer research on reusing kidswear

Overconsumption and the tremendous disposal of unwanted apparel has a negative impact on the environment and people, therefore that has became a worrying global problem. According to the New Textile Economy Report by Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the horrifying truth is that 87% of the total fibre input used for manufacturing clothing is landfilled or incinerated. 

We did a consumer research and spoke to 1000+ parents in Estonia to find out if renting and lending baby clothes would be something they would consider instead of buying & selling. Our research revealed what Estonian moms have been doing with their kids preloved clothing. Based on 1002 responses, the key findings were:

  • Almost 25% of respondents keep their kids outgrown clothes uselessly in closet;
  • 19% of respondents admitted throwing away outgrown clothes;
  • 66% of parents (74% of new mums) would be interested in renting baby clothes;
  • 79% of parents are interested in lending out their kids outgrown clothes;
  • 82% of all respondents pass on their preloved kidswear to relatives, friends or acquaintances;

Vast majority of parents would prefer renting clothes for children aged 0-3 years, when they undergo the fastest development. Renting for pre-school and school kids ranked higher only among parents who considered themselves very environmentally conscious. 

In addition to renting clothes parents also expressed interest in renting formal weartoys (educational toys, books, physical activity), outerwearstrollers, prams, shoesfurniture (high-chairs, baby bouncers, cot beds) and other products that are needed only for a short period of time.  

Once outgrown, then what? We asked parents what they do with clothes that have been outgrown by their children but are still in good condition. Since managing the resale process of outgrown clothes is quite time-
consuming and complicated, the most prevailing options are the ones where clothes are just given away for free (handing down to friends and relatives, taking to collection boxes, donating to charities etc).

What about renting out outgrown clothes? 79% of parents said they would be interested in lending out outgrown clothes if they could earn additional income and if the process was convenient. Out of those, 73% said they were willing to share the revenue if someone managed the whole rental process on their behalf
(sorting, storing, photographing, listing, packing, shipping, returns, cleaning etc). Only 27% said they would prefer to keep the clothes and manage the whole process themselves to get higher returns.

Through the practice of reusing, sharing and renting we can move towards a sustainable economy that has the potential to reduce waste and increase the lifespan of garments, but in order to be successful, we desperately need a systemic change in business practices and consumer behaviour.

Covered by Pere ja Kodu in Estonia. Photo by Kiur Kaasik, Pere ja Kodu.