More and more shoppers today are embracing secondhand apparel shopping in e-commerce and brands are taking notice.
Although bargain hunting is certainly not new, the Covid pandemic created a surge for “thrifting,” or the buying and selling of pre-owned goods. According to FloorFound’s Consumer Opinion Report, 33 million people purchased secondhand apparel for the first time in 2020, and more than three-quarters of them (76%) are planning to increase their spend on resale in the next five years.
In response to this growth, apparel brands are taking advantage with their own recommerce or resale marketplaces. The resale sector of this industry is expected to grow 11x faster than the broader retail clothing sector by 2025 — reaching $77 billion.
The Recommerce Revolution
Resale, thrifting, and vintage shopping have long been a part of our economy, especially in the fashion world. But today a confluence of technological, economic, and environmental factors has apparel recommerce growing in popularity.
According to OfferUp’s 2022 Recommerce Report, the recommerce market grew nearly 15% in 2021, the highest rate of growth in history for the industry, and is projected to reach $289 billion by 2027. In fact, more than half (58%) of Americans who engage with resale brands plan to increase their buying and/or selling of pre-owned goods – both essential and non-essential – in the next 12 months. Even participation in recommerce marketplace apps have seen growth, with Americans spending an average of 27 minutes per day on digital secondhand marketplaces.
Pre-owned items range from new to used to DIY (do it yourself) and vintage. But while the industry is dominated by clothing resale, much of recommerce occurs throughout categories like home improvement/decor/goods, furniture, sporting goods, electronics, outdoor equipment, and auto parts.
Brands Embracing the Secondhand Shop
Brands embracing online resale, whether in apparel or branching into some of the other popular resale avenues like home goods, include websites like:
- thredUP – see how Lily AI has helped thredUP to increase sell-through by 15% and how their “Thrift the Look” tool, co-developed by Lily AI, has helped shoppers to recreate the outfits they love sustainably. It was named one of the best inventions of 2022 by TIME!
- The RealReal
- Vestiaire Collective
Some brands have even now gone as far as to create their own recommerce platforms specifically for the resale of their own individual products like:
- Steve Madden
- Michael Kors
- Athleta (in a partnership with thredUP)
How to Keep Resale Relevant
The resale recommerce movement is very much mainstream at this point, as seen with the large list of brands embracing pre-loved apparel and the secondhand shop above. So, the question that remains is how exactly can brands stand out to shoppers among the competition?
To create the recommerce experience of tomorrow, brands must think like their customers today. When brands controlled the trends and created the fashion, it was easy for them to understand the shopper. But with empires like Amazon raising the bar on customer-centricity and shoppers finding their inspiration across social, brands are less connected to their customers and what their true preferences are.
Although resale, thrifting, and “selling it forward” recommerce has seen a massive spike in popularity, it’s still a delicate ecosystem that needs to deliver on helping shoppers be who they want to be and express themselves freely by finding the products they’re actually interested in.
To keep resale relevant and stand out as a brand among the many, it’s important to think like your customer. When a recommerce site uses granular, customer-centered product attribution data and enables long-tail contextual searches enriched with retail product attributes, shoppers can easily be guided directly to the items they really want without the hassle and frustration of not finding what they’re after because a brand can’t capture how they think.
By bridging the great (and growing) divide that exists between brands and customers, better product discovery for shoppers, increased traffic, conversions, and revenue can all co-exist. The future of commerce depends on thinking like your customer.