Known as re-commerce, many stores such as Nordstrom, Macy’s and most recently Gap are following the trend of retailers getting into the secondhand apparel market. Digital marketplaces such as Poshmark, The RealReal and ThredUp are just a few of the places where consumers can find thousands of “new” used items daily and purchase these secondhand items in seconds online. The resale surge is driven by many societal factors such as the environment, where the mentality of wear it once and throw it out is no longer acceptable and reselling clothes keeps them out of landfills as well as the social media trend in the land of Instagram where the younger generation doesn’t want to be seen in the same outfit twice and buy-back and resale makes that more affordable. Retailers know that making the statement they support sustainability resonates with consumers and may work to help their bottom line.
Macy’s and the Gap partner with ThredUp and Nordstrom recently launched its own resale shop called “See You Tomorrow”. Shoppers can browse and buy used apparel online at either digital marketplace where consumers can purchase name brand items sold at deep discounts as well as unique finds they wouldn’t see in-store. The overall resale market is valued at around $20 billion with the potential to reach $33 billion by 2022, according to a report by Cowen & Co. in November 2019. With the continued decline in brick-and-mortar clothing sales the resale trend, even in its early stage, comes as retailers struggle to grow. Resale presents an opportunity for companies to manage excess inventory and resale of returned items and buying back used clothing, shoes, jackets and accessories (cleaned and repaired if need be of course!). Garage sales, thrift stores and consignment shops have been around for decades but this mash-up between traditional retailers and used-clothing vendors is pushing the limits of how, and where, secondhand items are sold and there is no doubt that the resale business is the trend of the moment and big business for the digital marketplace.