Love Island x eBay collaboration: The second-hand clothing market is growing but was eBay the right fit?

May 25, 2023 |3 min read

To kick-start 2023, Love Island returned to South Africa for a second winter series and another partnership with online retailer eBay.

Aside from romance and relationship drama since its release, Love Island has been known for its fashion brand partnerships and clothing inspiration. In 2022, ITV reported that it attracted over 1 million viewers within the 16-34 year age bracket – one of only four shows released in the UK to do so.

The collaboration with eBay hit the headlines as a move towards a more sustainable image. But was eBay the right fit?


Have we seen any initial success for the collaboration?

Short answer: – to some extent.

With research showing that young people are becoming more concerned about the environment, sustainability and fashion, you’d expect this brand partnership to do extremely well. So, did the new bombshells’ ‘pre-loved’ attire catch the viewers’ attention?

Research carried out by ITV, found that 53% of those who watched last year’s show had awareness of the collaboration and had purchased second-hand or ‘pre-loved’ clothes in the preceding three months. Google Trends data in 2022 also revealed that eBay saw 700% more searches for ‘pre-loved fashion’ since the announcement of the collaboration.

However, this does not mean that the collaboration can be said to have directly driven purchase intent. The Love Island x eBay collaboration may have sparked interest in more sustainable shopping habits and has boosted eBay’s association with second-hand clothing – but it does not appear to have greatly influenced people to shop at eBay.


The second-hand fashion market is growing, but is eBay in the lead for Love Island’s main demographic?  

Low social media engagement and search of the eBay x LoveIsland hashtag on twitter during the summer 2022 season, shows that the partnership was not resonating with most young people. Most criticisms on social media comment on the lack of style, originality and individuality of the islander’s fashion. Tweets such as ‘These eBay outfits are ruining my visual experience’, and ‘Love Island collaborating with Vinted would have made so much more sense than eBay’, suggests that for most young people, the partnership wasn’t quite delivering when it came to fashion.

It no longer appeared to provide the much-loved fashion inspiration that it was known for. Although eBay is a marketplace for pre-loved clothes, it appears it is not the chosen online marketplace for most young people.

Though fast fashion is not going away, there is a growing love and need for second-hand options with young UK shoppers looking for more affordable and eco-friendly ways to save money on clothing while still being in touch with current trends.

Looking back at the Love Island demographic raises important questions – where are the main viewers buying their pre-loved clothes from? Though Depop exploded in popularity in 2015, its revenue has declined in recent years, and Vinted – a second-hand clothing app – is rising in popularity. In February 2022, Vinted was rated the most downloaded fashion app on mobile devices in the UK.


Creating more fruitful brand partnerships

New research has shown that the second-hand market is expected to grow 127% by 2026 which presents a huge opportunity for brand partnerships. In order to create more fruitful partnerships, research should be conducted to look into WHERE certain demographics are shopping. This way, brands pair with the right match that is authentic, well researched and appeals to their target audience.

Hopefully, this year the collaboration can be seen to be authentic in its aims of sustainability, and the fashion inspiration young people know Love Island to be.