US-based fashion resale marketplace ThredUp is one of the leaders of the secondhand clothing revolution. The site has 35,000 brands across 100 categories and 100,000 new arrivals per day.
“We will have upwards of 4 million unique skus in the coming months,’ ThredUp president Anthony Marino explained in the National Retail Federation’s Retail gets Real podcast.
It’s an impressive growth trajectory when compared to the site’s beginnings a decade ago. Now, inventory processes are automated, with conveyor technology able to handle 2 million items on hangers and fulfil an order within 60 seconds. But it wasn’t always the case. “In the beginning, we were taking items out of the bag by hand, taking pictures with iPhones and putting them on the internet,” says Marino.
The secondhand market is worth $24bn in the US and is predicted to reach $50bn in about five years.
ThredUp has as many millennial customers as silver surfers, and as many millionaires as people on a budget, as shoppers wake up to the benefits of buying secondhand.
“When you look at the people who are shopping secondhand, it’s across all age groups,” Marino says. “It’s people who love brands. They love deals. They love to have fun. A big part of our product strategy is to make the experience fun.”
While ThredUp started online, it is getting in on the brick-and-mortar action. The company has five physical stores, all of which are located in California. It is also doing pop-ups in about 40-plus department stores throughout the US to test shopper behaviour.
“There are more thrift and consignment stores in the US than department stores,” highlights Marino. “The stores are super promising. You just have to go to where the consumer is. There are some consumers who say they love the idea of secondhand, but want to go to a store.”
Brick-and-mortar, it seems, is not dead. At least not when it comes to secondhand.