Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Environmental Science (MS)

Degree Level



General Human Environmental Sciences


Eunjoo Cho

Committee Member

Kathleen R. Smith

Second Committee Member

Lisa Wood


consumer motivation, luxury fashion, perceived value, second-hand, second-hand luxury


The second-hand luxury fashion market is growing four times faster than the primary luxury fashion market and already represents a $24 billion market today (Beauloye, 2019; Siwak, 2020). Younger generations such as millennials and Gen Z are buying and selling preowned luxury products almost three times faster than any other age group (Beauloye, 2019). Digital selling platforms such as The RealReal and Vestiaire Collective are fueling the growth of the second-hand luxury fashion market (Beauloye, 2019). Despite the increased consumer interests and sales growth in the second-hand luxury fashion market, existing research has not concentrated on the underlying motivations of second-hand luxury fashion consumption. Most previous studies focused on motivational drivers for new luxury fashion products (e.g., Turunen & Pöyry, 2019).

The purpose of this study is to examine consumers’ motivations and perceived value from online second-hand luxury fashion retailers. In particular, this study targeted millennial and Gen Z consumers. The current study developed a theoretical framework based on the mental accounting theory (Thaler, 1985, 2008). The framework examined the impacts of five motivations— economic, critical, hedonic, fashion, status seeking—on perceived value, which leads to purchase intention toward online second-hand luxury fashion retailers.

A total of 216 participants from a Mid-Southern university completed an online survey distributed through an email invitation. Data screening resulted in a usable sample of 190 participants for data analysis. The majority of respondents were Caucasian or European American female college students (86.8%) with a median age of 22. Most participants had purchased second-hand luxury fashion products (72.1%) and owned one to five second-hand luxury fashion products.

Results of exploratory factor analysis with varimax rotation confirmed one factor for each variable. Each construct demonstrated sufficient internal consistency with a Cronbach’s alpha value of α =.74 to .90. The results of regression analysis demonstrated that economic, critical, fashion, and status seeking motivations significantly enhanced perceived value. Hedonic motivation did not significantly influence perceived value. The perceived value significantly influenced purchase intention toward online second-hand luxury fashion retailers. Stepwise multiple regression showed that the model containing economic, critical, and fashion motivation had the highest correlation with the dependent variable, perceived value. Whereas previous studies found that economic motivation is the key driver of second-hand non-luxury purchases, the results of this study highlight that fashion and critical motivations are much more important factors for online second-hand luxury fashion purchases among millennials and Gen Z consumers.

In conclusion, findings from the present study expanded the body of literature that uses mental accounting theory by examining monetary and non-monetary determinants of value in online second-hand luxury fashion shopping. Theoretically, the results confirmed that Thaler’s (1985) mental accounting theory is applicable for studying consumer decision-making in an online shopping context since multiple factors (e.g., economic, critical, fashion, and status-seeking) can affect consumers’ online shopping decisions. Findings suggest that online second-hand luxury fashion retailers should provide trend-driven garments and accessories designed for digitally native millennial and Gen Z customers.