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Rise of Resale Part 2: The Resale Landscape

March 2020

Resale, or second-hand, shopping, is a long-established retail activity. Resale shopping has evolved rapidly in response to economic conditions, technology, and growing environmental concerns. This report examines some of the key challenges and opportunities facing resale players, makes predictions about what retail channels are most likely to be affected by resale and how to prepare, and features company profiles of some of the world’s leading resale platforms.

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Key Findings

What is resale?

Resale shopping refers to buying pre-owned merchandise. Resale shopping is also commonly know as buying second-hand, buying used and re-commerce.

Resale is evolving

Resale has been a part of commerce going back hundreds if not thousands of years. Technology - in particular that which powers e-commerce and modern logistics systems - and growing concerns about both trends and sustainability are causing resale to evolve and become more mainstream in many markets.

A more competitive landscape drives new trends

As interest in resale has grown, the number of digital resale platforms has grown even as the brick-and-mortar resale landscape remains heavily fragmented. As these digital players increasingly compete against each other and against retailers for consumers’ dollars, they are turning to strategies such as omnichannel, social shopping and B2B revenue streams to attract traffic and improve profitability.

Brands and retailers must decide whether to participate in resale

Brands and retailers have several options for addressing the growth of resale, ranging from ignoring it and ceding all resale revenue to the resale platforms all the way to opening their own resale operations, as several players in Western markets have done in the last two years. Engaging in resale requires answering fresh questions about who the target consumer is and how products can be designed with multiple owners in mind.

Partnership, investment opportunities abound

The number of digital resale platforms has grown significantly in the last decade. Brands and retailers looking to partner with a resale platform - for example, to get more insights on resale behaviour or bolster their sustainability credentials - or acquire a player outright have many options.


Scope of this report
Key findings
Who should read this report
Definitions (1)
Definitions (2)
Classifying resale businesses

The Current State of Resale

The evolution of resale
Economic factors, consumer trends power resale growth
Key categories for resale

Challenges for Resale

Challenges for Resale
Rebranding resale: Marketing to grow the resale audience
Ensuring authenticity: maintaining trust amid platform scrutiny
Accessing quality supply: Attracting sellers to draw buyers
Complex operations: Identifying, storing, and tracking unique items
Pricing compared to new goods: Remaining competitive on price
Resale restrictions: a complex regulatory landscape

Trends in Resale

The resale business continues to evolve
Trend 1: Expanding into omnichannel
The RealReal uses stores to introduce the brand, resale
ReTuna , the world’s first resale mall
Goodwill launches e-commerce
Trend 2: Social commerce
Australia-based Modsie makes active use of Instagram shopping
Social engagement on Poshmark is a key part of the platform
Depop welcomes, creates influencers
Trend 3: the development of B2B revenue sources
Fashionphile allows professional resellers to buy from platform
thredUP offers solutions for store-based retailers
Blurring business models offers new resale options

Resale for Brands and Retailers

Retail channels most affected by the rise of resale: fast fashion
Retail channels most affected by the rise of resale: department stores
Retail channels most affected by the rise of resale: off-price
Challenges for retailers and brands
Brands should evaluate a resale partnership or initiative
Options for brands and retailers
Checklist for brands looking to resale-ready their products
Brands must learn what their lifetime product value is
Brands develop their own resale stores
Dyson leverages eBay for resale solutions
Xianyu , Alibaba’s push into the circular economy
REI launches Used Gear to strengthen resale offering
Nordstrom brings resale into stores
Farfetch takes a multi-pronged resale approach

Appendix 1: Resale Companies by Type

Resale companies by geography and type (1)
Resale companies by geography and type (2)
Resale companies by geography and type (3)
Resale companies by geography and type (4)
Resale companies by geography and type (5)
Resale companies by geography and type (6)
Resale companies by geography and type (7)
Resale companies by geography and type (8)
Resale companies by geography and type (9)
Resale direct by brands

Appendix 2: Selected Resale Company Profiles

Facebook Marketplace
The RealReal
Vestiaire Collective


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