The resale market is booming in the US. As consumers, particularly Millennials and Gen Z, become increasingly environmentally conscious and value-oriented, they are seeking out companies that employ sustainable practices and becoming more comfortable wearing refurbished clothing. According to Euromonitor International’s Lifestyle Survey (2019), 56% of consumers in the US buy used or second-hand items at least annually. The popular Netflix show “Tidying UP with Marie Kondo” also created a sensation in rising resale demand, as #konmarimethod draws consumers to donate unwanted clothes to thrift stores.
In addition to its sustainable merits, consumers enjoy shopping at secondhand stores because they enjoy the thrill of the hunt and the chance of finding a unique product at a discount price. For young consumers with lower budgets, buying second-hand items is often an opportunity to experience products that they dream about owning but cannot afford at full price.
While formerly confined to physical second-hand shops, the advent of internet retailing has enabled rapid growth in the second-hand market in recent years. This includes players like consumer-to-consumer e-commerce platforms such as Poshmark and DePop as well as online retailers specializing in certified authentic, second-hand fashion items like The RealReal. With accelerating demand in resale, the secondhand internet retailers have begun opening stores to further expand their presence and facilitate transactions. For example, the RealReal opened a store and consignment office on New York’s Madison Avenue in May 2019, while Rebag announced plans in February 2019 to open 30 bricks-and-mortar stores in the following months. Now being available both offline and online, the resale market is more accessible to consumers than ever before.
The growing resale market is also helping to grow primary market sales in some categories like footwear and accessories as consumers are more willing to buy expensive goods on the primary market with the intention of reselling in the future. Euromonitor International’s Lifestyle Survey (2019) revealed that 43% of US consumers sell used or secondhand items at least annually.
The resale market is continuously welcoming new players, including the recent announcement of Kardashian Kloset by the Kardashian-Jenner family. Kardashian Kloset has already benefited from the Kardashian-Jenner family’s powerful social influence, as its announcement instantly captured attention of their many followers. While many consumers are still hesitant of resale, the opportunity to purchase clothes worn by the Kardashian-Jenner family is bringing new attention to the resale market, encouraging some to try it for the first time thanks to the value added by the Kardashian-Jenner name.