Thredup, now a public company, is looking to build a resale technology solution for brands alongside its customer markets.
Thredup raised $ 168 million with a market value of $ 1.3 billion in an initial public offering (IPO) on Friday. Its stock jumped from $ 14 to $ 20. With 1.24 million active buyers, 428,000 active sellers, and $ 186 million in revenue in 2020, it’s not profitable yet. But Thredup, which keeps inventory from sellers, is betting that its white label technology could help not only the brand but its own profitability.
Competition in resale has surged in the past year, with increasing industry attention to the second-hand market, due to its relevance among younger customers, substantial growth and sustainability metrics. Thredup is the second resale company to go public this year, afterwards IPO January Poshmark and RealReal in 2019. Paris-based Vestiaire Collective created a A $ 216 million deal with Tiger Global Management and luxury conglomerate Kering, which takes a 5 percent stake. The resale market is expected to reach $ 36 billion by 2024, representing a compound annual growth rate of 39 percent since 2019, making it the fastest growing sector in retail, according to a January 2020 survey from GlobalData.
But while luxury brands may want more revenue from and control their brands in the secondary market, they are less willing and unable to spend 10 years and hundreds of millions of dollars investing in the robust infrastructure and technology needed to support them, says Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData’s retail division. As such, they are increasingly considering partnering with technology platforms, flooded with VC cash and scale-dependent, for branded “white label” resale technology from a customer-facing perspective.
“Brands want to play on the resale, but it is difficult to allow resale on a large scale and get the unit economy to work at a lower price point,” said Ainslee Withey, managing director at Barclays Investment Bank, which is an underwriter for Thredup’s IPO. Among the technological challenges are the ability to predict the ideal resale price, the ability to automate unique and unpredictable inventory orientation, and the ability to make personalized recommendations from a multitude of unique items. Because of this, he said, “There are clear partnership opportunities with resale technology platforms. And once they reach a certain scale, they can grow exponentially. “
With more than 14,000 shops expected to close this year, the COVID-19 pandemic is particularly violent for physical retailers. The spike in coronavirus cases in many states means consumers won’t be rushing to the mall yet. They are buying more online, and resale sites are partially filling the void.
The RealReal luxury resale site REAL and ThredUp, which claims to be the largest fashion-saving platform in the US, both launched initiatives this week that underscore the resilience of the sector.
RealReal teamed up with Gucci to create a curated shop for the brand, featuring 2,000 items from the label and from the shipper. Meanwhile, ThredUp launched a rebranding campaign that reflects a change in the way it views savings. ThredUp co-founder and CEO James Reinhart says the austerity is celebrated, not covered up.
“Perceptions of austerity have changed,” said Reinhart. “Consumers are not only open to shopping for used goods, but they wear them with pride. The ThredUp brand evolution recognizes the shift from stigma to status, and celebrates our thrifty community who think second-hand first. ”
Secondhand sales were estimated at $ 28 billion last year, and are growing fast. According to Thredup, 70% of consumers are open to buying used products. About two in three consumers see no stigma in wearing used clothes, and most are proud to buy them. Gen Z is even more bullish and is using secondhand purchases to broadcast sustainable values to the world.
“In the early days of ThredUp, our goal was to convert skeptics. Our brands are designed to debunk prejudices and build trust, ”said president Anthony Marino. “Today we are not sure what to do. Skeptics have become fans and supporters. Any stigma has been replaced by pride. We have a new opportunity to create a truly thrifty and authentic brand. ”
The campaign with the tag line # thriftloudly – which is also a hashtag – features colorful graphics and messages like “Used with a New Look”. ThredUp’s Reinhart declined to comment on a possible IPO, but other bold moves such as a partnership with Walmart WMT pointing towards it.
The RealReal, which trades the sale of worn or used luxury clothing, jewelery and accessories, announced one of its biggest brand partnerships, a relationship with Gucci that will bring a dedicated brand store to e-commerce sites until the end of the year.
This highly sought-after label is appreciated by Gen Z and Millennials, who are driving growth in the sector, and giving The RealReal a boost. This move is undoubtedly being closely watched by other high-end European heritage brands.
Gucci x The RealReal Shop will combine merchandise direct from Gucci and shipper The RealReal, with new items curated every day across the latest and current season pieces, classic bestsellers and vintage items exclusively for women, men, jewelery and watches, home and children.
“It’s very strong to have a brand that encourages resale engagement, especially Gucci,” said Allison Sommer, senior director of strategic initiatives at The RealReal. “By encouraging their community to not only ship, but also resell stores, Gucci is demonstrating that the secondary market complements the primary market. I certainly hope our partnership highlights the importance of circularity in fashion and inspires change across the industry. Be it another luxury brand that wants to work. with us or adopting alternative sustainable models, we support any way to keep fashion circulating in and out of landfills. ”
Gucci is one of the best selling luxury brands on RealReal from year to year. The brand continues to experience strong growth in resale demand, which is up another 19% this year. It is the male brand that has been in high demand for three consecutive years, and has a strong resale value for shippers, 2.3 times stronger than average compared to all brands sold on The RealReal.
However, in terms of overall demand, according to The RealReal’s 2020 Luxury Market Report, released in June, Gucci handed Louis Vuitton the number one spot for the first time in platform history. Louis Vuitton edged well ahead of Gucci to grab the largest share of demand among the younger demographic, while high demand among men helped keep Gucci ahead of Chanel, who is at number three.
As an added incentive, for every Gucci item purchased or shipped, Gucci and The RealReal will plant trees through the non-profit organization, One Tree Planted, to help with global reforestation efforts, which include planting new trees in the Amazon Rainforest and replenishing damaged California forests. during this year’s fire season.