Ringing in the Resales

NEW YORK — Second hand. Like new. Thrift. Buy Nothing. Gently used. There are lots of ways to describe consumption in the booming resale market.

Add “Merry Christmas!” to the list.

Resale has taken off among those looking to save the planet and spend less on gifts during what can be the most wasteful time of the year — the December holidays. This year’s supply chain delays have provided extra motivation.

“Gifting at its core should be about thoughtfulness, and arguably more thought is put into finding a meaningful, interesting secondhand gift for someone than just hitting the ‘buy’ button on something everyone is getting from Amazon,” said Ashlee Piper, a sustainability expert and author of “Give a Sh(asterisk)t: Do Good. Live Better. Save the Planet.”

One of her favorite gifts ever was a tattered copy of “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” that a friend found for $2 at a thrift shop.

“It’s kitschy, thoughtful and totally unique,” Piper said.

The resale market is far from dominant overall, and spans all ages. Industry reports have said the recent gains are driven mainly by Gen Z and millennial shoppers.

Players large and small are reaping the benefits.

Luxury resale marketplace The RealReal, which has more than 23 million members after going public more than two years ago, said it saw a 60 percent jump last year over the year before among those choosing gift boxes with purchases during the holiday season. Last month, the online site, which has 16 brick-and-mortar consignment stores around the U.S., saw orders with gift boxes rise by 73 percent over the same month last year for unbranded jewelry. Such purchases were up 62 percent for Gucci items and 53 percent for Louis Vuitton selections, according to company data.

“The stigma is gone,” said Marshal Cohen, a consumer behavior and retail analyst for the NPD Group. “There is a new view of how valuable some of the resale product is. Gray market selling of new and used items are now reaching new heights. Scoring a great item others can only dream of is the new form of luxury.”

Sales of gift cards for online thrift giant ThredUp, which went public earlier this year, were up 103 percent during the first two weeks of December compared to the entire month of November, said Erin Wallace, vice president of integrated marketing.

Kristi Marquez, 36, in Jupiter, Fla., has two young daughters. She has cut down her gift list from about 20 people to 10 this year after her family opted to buy only for their kids. A good three-quarters of her gifts will be resale items. She used Thriftbooks.com and other book resellers to purchase previously owned titles at deeply discounted prices. Facebook Marketplace and local moms’ groups have proven fruitful for toys.

Sometimes, she said, going resale isn’t about the environment or saving money, especially this year.

“At the top of our oldest’s list is the Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron. At first, I didn’t know the toy was so popular and was shocked to see it sold out everywhere, except at more than double the price from resellers on Amazon and Walmart,” she said. “After wading through potential scammers, I finally got a hold of one on Poshmark for $99. It’s not the eco-friendly toy we’d hoped for and it’s still overpriced but we’re happy we found the main toy she asked for.”

The plastic toy, which makes sounds and produces mist after kids create a “potion,” retails for $69.99.

As more retailers have added resale as an option, tech middlemen have jumped in to assist. One company, List Perfectly, offers tools for resellers to cross-post their wares on 11 marketplaces.

“Resale doesn’t necessarily mean used. A lot of resellers resell new items that are currently scarce as they’ve planned their inventory for months to accommodate holiday shopping demands,” said Clara Albornoz, co-founder and CEO. “Buyers can see a variety of options, easily price compare, shop from their home, get their items quickly and affordably, and delivered straight to them, usually with opportunities to return if there are any issues.”

Another company, Recurate, enables brands to create their own resale platforms on their websites.

“Recurate’s sales over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday week were over 50 percent higher than average,” said Karin Dillie, vice president of partnerships. She said customers are seeking resale items “to satisfy their own deal hunting as well as to purchase as gifts.”

Article Source: The Columbian