Resale’s growing appeal has done little to slow down the problems it is supposed to help solve— overproduction and overconsumption—according to Edited’s recent report about where the secondhand market is now and where it’s going.
“Despite reports of a glut of inventory while consumers pull back on spending due to the looming cost of goods crisis, the fashion industry is still overproducing,” the retail analytics firm said, adding that new fast-fashion product drops online for men’s and women’s wear average more than 47,000 individual styles per week in the U.S. alone.
The figure is up 11 percent from 2021 and 120 percent from 2020 when production was severely reduced due to Covid.
While the fast-fashion sector has made some headway in resale such as Zara’s Pre-Owned, Shein’s Exchange and Primark’s just launched WornWell by the Vintage Wholesale Company shop-in-shops, Edited said “allowing customers to resell used goods won’t cancel out the impact of the enormous amounts of disposable products continuing to drop.” It added, “Circularity is a fundamental cornerstone of sustainable fashion, yet against continued overproduction levels, resale alone won’t be the silver bullet.”
Predicted to be worth $218 billion by 2026 in ThredUp’s 2022 Resale Report, so-called pre-loved merchandise is booming due several factors. These include society’s increasing support for a circular economy, Gen Z’s love of thrifting and the profits a reseller can make by offering rare, limited-edition pieces from the likes of Hermès or even New Balance.
Some brands shine brighter in the resale market than others. According to both Rebag and Edited, Telfar is currently the top secondhand brand to give sellers the best return on their investment overall; its value retention even exceeds that of Hermès. Its collaborative pieces with Ugg, Moose Knuckles and Eastpak have great appeal in the secondary sector and its now sold-out Large Shopping Bag with an original price of $257 is now being hawked on some U.S. sites with a price increase of up to 132 percent.
However, scarce luxury items are still the sources of the most dramatic markups. Birkin and Kelly bags by Hermès have elevated prices of up to 2,554 percent across U.S. resale sites and 5,308 percent in the U.K. Old Tom Ford–designed Gucci pieces fetch up to five times their original price in the U.K. as well.
Edited added that this phenomenon is not limited to luxury and cited Adidas Kobe 2 USA Flag sneakers, Nike SB Dunks, some New Balance shoes and Aimé Leon Dore x 550 styles as examples of kicks that are “commanding lavish price points.”
The firm has detected another trend in this area: an increased use of–and resulting crackdown on–bots that buy up limited-edition drops specifically so they can be resold for significant gain. It said that both Telfar and Nike have taken steps to bar bots from their sites and that it expects other companies to follow suit in the coming months.
Conversely, Edited also mentioned brands that don’t perform well as resold items. Secondhand pieces by both Off-White and Diesel can be anywhere from 48-91 percent cheaper than their original price due to factors such as consumer demand or product quality. However, the report noted this is not necessarily to these brands’ detriment as price-conscious Gen Z consumers can use these deals as a gateway to developing future brand loyalty when they can afford to pay retail.
Resale site sell-through rates are through the roof compared to traditional retailers, with Edited noting that sneaker site Goat more than doubled its orders in the past year and that Poshmark’s revenue grew almost 14.5 percent as of Q4 2022. In addition, Edited said that in the U.S. 69 percent of the products available at Vestiaire Collective on Oct. 24, 2022 were under three months old, while just 5 percent had been listed for over a year. Meanwhile, at Mytheresa, 34 percent of its assortment had been online for over a year and at Luisaviaroma the average age of available items was between three and six months.
“Resale platforms may offer styles from the archives, but they usually sell through before they have the chance to go stale,” the report said.