The clothing resale market is thriving, despite the economic shift
caused by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to ThredUp.
Natalie Tomlin, a spokesperson for the popular resale platform, told
FashionUnited that, “while resale isn’t immune to these downturns,
we’ve seen before that when times are tough, resale tends to
She explained that consumers are now turning to secondhand “as a
responsible choice during a time when many are looking to stretch
their dollars further,” which in some ways gives resale retailers an
upper hand. As the economy takes a dip, value becomes a higher
priority for the majority of shoppers.
Tomlin also noted that resale platforms such as ThredUp have
another advantage to traditional retailers: an independent supply
“ThredUp has a uniquely flexible supply chain independent of the
factories, overseas production and seasonal deliveries that
traditional retail depends on,” Tomlin said. This allows business to
continue as usual as far as maintaining inventory and connecting
consumers with online orders.
Though resale business might not be greatly impacted, it is clear
that consumer interests in clothing have begun to evolve. ThredUp has
seen an increase in activity among its most active shoppers, though
the items they are shopping for are different from before. Purchases
of loungewear and blouses are on the rise, with sales of leggings up
by over 100 percent in a two-week period, compared to the last two
weeks of February. Blouse and top sales have increased by 30 in the
same time frame. On the other hand, styles such as blazers and
cocktail dresses have decreased in popularity compared to sales data
from before COVID-19.
“Early indications show consumers are increasingly cleaning out and
shopping secondhand, and we anticipate that more consumers will shift
to thrift in a post-COVID world,” Tomlin noted.
ThredUp responds to economic challenges with initiatives designed
to help others
The resale platform is responding to challenges through new
initiatives that help its consumers and the community as a whole. It
has launched three new programs that benefit Feeding America,
including a sustainable secondhand shop created in partnership with
Reformation, a promotion for its Donation Bags that gives 15 dollars
to Feeding America for each bag purchased and a puzzle pop-up that
allows people to sell puzzles to benefit Feeding America.
“While these initiatives are new to ThredUp, ThredUp is no stranger
to business pivots,” Tomlin said. “ThredUp was founded on the heels of
the last financial crisis in 2009 and the business was built to adapt
to the ever-evolving needs of the consumer.”
Image: courtesy of ThredUp