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Consumers Want a ‘Revolving Closet’ and Resale Sites Like Poshmark Make it Possible

Move over, fast fashion. According to newly released data, resale and social shopping could be the retail trends that define the next decade.

A report released Tuesday by online secondhand marketplace Poshmark revealed a number of dramatic shifts in the retail landscape over the past year. Notably, more than half (58 percent) of shoppers are now comfortable purchasing products through social media platforms, and three-quarters (75 percent) are fine with the idea of buying directly from people online. Almost all shoppers (94 percent) are happy to purchase from sellers out of state.

According to the company’s own research, Poshmark, Instagram and Facebook Marketplace are the most popular platforms for social shopping.

Analysts revealed that Gen Z shoppers are swiping, clicking and scrolling at a greater rate than any other generational cohort. “Gen Z is the hyper-social generation that has emerged as a key driver influencing these social shopping trends,” a Poshmark spokesperson told Sourcing Journal.

“Social shopping is driven by connection and has given way for ample discovery, engagement and purchases—all things that Gen Z prioritizes, and why they’ve become the ultimate advocates for this new way to shop,” the spokesperson added.

More than any other generation, Gen Z shoppers take their fashion cues from social media influencers (34 percent), celebrities and pop culture icons (37 percent), and streetwear (38 percent). These shoppers make up 20 percent of Poshmark’s total user base, and they represented one-quarter of the marketplace’s new users in 2019.

There are a few reasons why social shopping—and in particular, the resale of pre-owned goods—has skyrocketed in recent seasons, and appears poised to continue on that upward trajectory.

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For one, analysts said, new shopping methodologies have fueled a “revolving closet” phenomenon, making it possible for consumers to wear more quality clothing and pay less for what they buy. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of shoppers consider an item’s resale value before buying, knowing even at the point of purchase that the item’s life cycle might extend beyond their ownership.

Shoppers are also willing to take more risks on purchases, knowing that there’s an avenue to recoup their funds should they decide they don’t want to keep an item. When unable to return a product online, almost all of Poshmark users (92 percent) and more than one-third (35 percent) of non-users said they would sell it online.

There’s also the issue of sustainability, which is weighing more heavily on the minds of young shoppers than their forebears. “With the growing awareness around the negative effects of fast fashion on our environment, secondhand shopping has become a clear and easy path to appease consumer demands,” the Poshmark spokesperson said. “Shoppers are turning to platforms… to extend the life cycle of clothing, creating a more sustainable future.”

The idea of circularity has become ingrained in the secondhand shopping experience. By selling and buying on online resale platforms, users are extending the life cycles of the clothing they’re buying, instead of sending wearable goods to landfill.

According to Poshmark’s data, nearly half (48 percent) of all the site’s sellers are also buyers who made purchases within the past year, and surveyed Poshmark users claim that an average of 38 percent of their closets were made up of secondhand goods.

“Shopping and selling have become more fluid, accelerating the opportunity of a circular economy,” the spokesperson told Sourcing Journal.