Whether consumers are looking to save or are hunting for a buried treasure, the resale business is booming.
During the Covid pandemic, secondhand stores such as eBay, the RealReal and ThredUp thrived online.
So-called recommerce grew nearly 15% in 2021 — twice as fast as the broader retail market and notching the highest rate of growth in history for the industry, according to a 2022 report by OfferUp. Over the next five years it is projected to grow by another 80% and hit $289 billion.
“We were missing out,” said Matthew Kaness, CEO of GoodwillFinds.com, Goodwill’s recently launched online marketplace.
“Goodwill is the ‘OG’ of thrifting,” he said. “This is such an obvious opportunity.”
Although Goodwill is known for secondhand clothing and housewares, more shoppers are coming to the site for one-of-a-kind finds, including art, designer handbags, jewelry and vintage sneakers, Kaness said — similar to what’s happening in the industry overall.
Tete De Femme Stylisee by Picasso
Most resale consumers are driven by value. Thrift-store shoppers save nearly $150 a month, or $1,760 a year, on average, by buying secondhand items, according to a report by CouponFollow.
Saving money, however, is not the only motivator, CouponFollow found. Shoppers have increasingly turned to resale as a means to secure hard-to-find luxury items.
In fact, sometimes buying secondhand is the only way to score a limited-edition pair of Air Jordans or other highly coveted and exclusive items — not to mention tickets to Taylor Swift’s upcoming tour.
Recently, an unauthenticated signed print by Picasso titled “Tete De Femme Stylisee” sold for $2,500 at the site.
Part of the momentum fueling resale is the desire to gain access to that unique item, said Wells Fargo managing director Adam Davis, who works with recommerce retail businesses, whether that’s “a Chanel handbag or Nike sneakers” — even if you end up paying more than the original retail price.
Because recommerce is also considered eco-friendly, it’s become more socially acceptable, said Brett Heffes, CEO of Winmark, the franchisor of stores such as Plato’s Closet, Once Upon a Child and Play It Again Sports.
“When I started in this business, there was a stigma around purchasing previously owned items, and that stigma is gone.”
“Affluent consumers are leading the recommerce revolution,” said Chris Richter, CEO of recommerce site FloorFound.
Largely driven by value and a desire to shop in more sustainable ways, “shoppers are looking to purchase resale instead of new,” he said.
High-income consumers are even more likely to shop secondhand, according to a poll of more than 1,000 adults by FloorFound: Nearly 9 in 10 shoppers making more than $175,000 a year have previously bought a resale item — 14 percentage points higher than the survey average.