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Pooch, Partner, Progeny? Consumer Trends Push Poshmark Into Pet Fashion

Pets are big business in America, and Poshmark wants a piece of the action.

On Thursday, the Bay Area platform uniting secondhand-loving consumers added a new category to a growing roster of core competencies: pet goods. The move, it says, comes as more than two-thirds of Americans own a pet, according to the American Pet Products Association, and the 37 million millennials who count a pet as part of their household make up 27 percent of the nation’s total pet owners, David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, said in late 2019.

What’s more, many millennials are putting off marriage until later in life relative to their predecessors, and still others are skipping out on partners and progeny altogether, preferring instead to focus their time and resources on the joys of pet parenthood. Even Inditex-owned Zara is courting these dollars, launching its own pet collection of quilted jackets, raincoats and other dog-friendly items on Thursday.

Inditex-owned Zara launched a pet fashion collection Thursday.
An olive green quilted jacket from Zara’s newly launched pet fashion collection. Zara

Zulily, too, has documented pet mania and its effect on spending. “For millennials, their dog or cat isn’t just a pet—it’s a starter child,” Kerry Gibson-Morris, vice president of merchandising at the Qurate Retail Group-owned e-commerce company, said in 2018, pointing to internal research that shows this demographic wants “their pet to play an even bigger part of their life—whether it’s providing approval of their significant other, taking their pet to work or surprising their pet with gifts on a monthly basis.”

Plus, the “pandemic pet” phenomenon has brought even more cats, dogs and other critters into American households as home-bound consumers seek to assuage quarantine-induced loneliness or simply have more time to spend with a four-legged friend.

And on the Poshmark platform, consumers have already been listing and purchasing items fit for felines and Fido. Data, it says, suggests that toys, leashes, collars, costumes, and beds topped pet-related purchases overall on the resale site, with beds most popular out West, dog sweaters and jackets keeping “our best friends bundled up in chilly” Northeast weather, dog and cat costumes courting Southern consumers, and cat harnesses and toys holding special appeal for Midwestern shoppers.

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All of this points to millennials and other ardent pet owners freely investing in their beloved companion’s style and comfort, even if they’re buying little for their own wardrobes beyond Covid-right loungewear. What’s more, newly public Poshmark says the pet launch underscores the “scalability” of its business model and “supports its long-term strategy to grow the business through category expansion.”

Though the category debut partly serves to bring some order and intention to activity already happening on the peer-to-peer platform, Poshmark says the launch is “about expanding the community, as well as activating the millions of pet owners” who currently turn to the site to acquire new or gently used items. Extrapolating from national pet-ownership averages means roughly 21 million pets are already on Poshmark through their owners, it added, highlighting the opportunity for brisk business.

A broad variety of pet items, including fashion, will be available on Poshmark, which said subcategories encompass accessories like outfits, collars, leashes, and harnesses; sleep-oriented items like blankets and beds; homes like cages and carriers; toys like squeaky stuffed animals and feather wands; grooming goods like shampoo and brushes; and mealtime items from bowls to feeders.

“Many members of the Poshmark community are proud pet owners, myself included, and it’s important that our social marketplace addresses the needs of the entire family,” said Tracy Sun, co-founder and senior vice president of new markets at Poshmark, where consumers can shop for products geared toward men, women including plus sizes, kids, home, luxury, and beauty and wellness. “We’re excited to offer pet owners a fun and social way to shop, sell and connect in a way that builds community, considers personal styles and budgets, and drives sustainability.”