In contrast with a general downward trend in retail, resale is on the rise. The online secondhand market is set to grow 69% between 2019 and 2021, while the broader retail sector is projected to shrink 15%, according to online thrift platform threadUP. The industry shows no signs of slowing down. From luxury to furniture, big brands are going circular, taking ownership of the full life of their products and finding favor with young and sustainably conscious consumers.

  • Mulberry is staking its claim on secondhand. The luxury brand announced their new online buy-back program, Mulberry Exchange, in March.
  • Etsy is making a big bet on second-hand; the maker’s marketplace bought second-hand app Depop for $1.6 billion in June, catering to gen Z shoppers—90% of Depop’s active users are under the age of 26—and scaling the resale market to an international level.
Web2 IKEA launches Pre Loved Labels to its second hand items allowing customers to learn about an items past before giving it a new home
IKEA's Circular Hub
  • IKEA announced in May that they will begin buying back used furniture in an effort to reduce landfill waste and reach their “climate positive” goals by 2030. The furniture giant will repurchase products at prices scaled to physical condition starting at 50% of the original value and will display items online and in stores.
  • Athleisure is joining the resale game as well: Lululemon is piloting an online trade-in program that allows shoppers to return gently used clothing for a store gift card. Currently active in California and Texas, the program will expand to additional states starting in June as part of the brand’s aim to “help create a healthier future,” says CEO Calvin McDonald.
WEB Large Screen Transparency Sellpy H M
H&M and Sellpy
  • H&M announced in May that their Swedish resale site Sellpy will launch in 20 more countries. Betting on the growing resale market, the fast-fashion brand is simplifying second-hand by picking up, photographing, selling, and shipping clothing at no cost to consumers.

Why it’s interesting:

Brands are catching on to the value of the resale market. Secondhand shopping—which has historically taken place outside of the brand’s ecosystem—is now being incorporated into the primary brand experience. Brands are taking responsibility over the entire lifecycle of their products, earning the respect of eco-conscious consumers and opening up new revenue streams.

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