Although once mostly limited to tiny local consignment and secondhand shops, fashion and apparel recommerce today includes a range of digitally native companies offering resale, rental, upcycling and/or subscription models. Each of these business models can extend the useful life of apparel and increase the average number of times an item is worn, helping cut down on waste and the amount of clothing that ends up in landfills while generating new or additional revenues for retailers and brands.
Resale marketplace thredUP, relying on research from GlobalData, estimated in 2019 that the secondhand apparel market will grow to $51 billion by 2023. The recommerce market already encompasses players in every sector and category. In the luxury segment, major recommerce names include The RealReal, Rebag, Tradesy, and Rent the Runway. American Eagle, Ann Taylor and Urban Outfitters are among the traditional specialty retailers now offering fashion rental to their customers. Even legacy department stores such as Macy’s and J.C. Penney provide items for resale in stores through their respective partnerships with thredUP.
However, retailers offering recommerce options — whether they’re the owner of a small secondhand shop, a luxury rental marketplace, or a traditional department store — need retail analytics on what apparel and accessory items consumers are most willing to buy secondhand or rent, as well as what they’re willing to pay for them. To accurately gauge what shoppers will pay to rent a particular designer’s dresses or buy a pair of previously owned jeans from a luxury brand, retailers need to gather consumer input, apply retail analytics software to the data, and test various pricing strategies.