With millions of Americans becoming unemployed, the market for second-hand clothing is growing in the country. Recent data by the Commerce Department indicates second hand clothes retail platforms in the country continued to record robust sales as consumers became increasingly price-conscious. ThredUp’s recent annual report also revealed that from mid-March to the end of May, its weekly gross transaction volume grew by 20 per cent compared to the same time period last year. From mid-April to mid-May, Poshmark too experienced a 50 per cent increase in clothing and accessories sales compared to the previous year while the traffic on Depop’s platform increased by 100 per cent year-over-year in April.
Compared to traditional thrift stores or the first wave of resale sites like eBay, digitally-native resale sites like Depop, Poshmark, and ThredUp offer more of a social experience. For instance, Poshmark hosted in-person meetups for sellers. It also added a Stories feature, similar to Instagram’s and Snapchat’s, to its app in April. That has been a benefit during the stay at home orders, when people were spending more time online.
However, one challenge that all of the secondhand apparel sites are facing right now is that items are taking longer to ship — which can turn away first-time customers if their items take too long to arrive. Unlike some other resale sites, ThredUp sellers don’t directly ship items to buyers — they instead ship them to ThredUp warehouses, where the company cleans and inspects items before making them available for purchase on its website. Hence it takes ThredUp longer to process items thanks to social distancing and stricter cleaning measures that it has implemented in its warehouses.