Mar 30, 2023
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High-end rental and resale report could see rapid fivefold growth says Bloomberg study

Mar 30, 2023

There's a massive opportunity in the rental and resale market with Bloomberg Intelligence saying in a new report that the higher end of this market could grow fivefold as soon as 2025 with resale a particular focus.

Resale sites like Vestiaire Collective are shaking up fashion

That would clearly "significantly outpace" the expected growth rate for new clothing.

And it added that “circular business models have the potential to grow to 23% of the global fashion market by 2030, driven by rising consumer sustainability awareness, and inflationary pressure squeezing spending power”.

What this means for brands is that those without specific resale abilities via their own operations or through a partner could end up seeing most sales of the labels happening through consumer-to-consumer (C2C) secondhand sites, something that could be seen both at the higher end and lower down the price scale.

For instance, Inditex’s Zara announced the launch of resale last autumn with the UK as the initial test market. That came after Zara had been one of the most listed brands on Depop in 2021, making a big contribution to the resale platform is £50.1 million in revenue. The more recent entry into resale by the brand is clearly a sign that Inditex has noted the massive potential and wants to bring resale more under its own control.

Bloomberg Intelligence’s report, Global Apparel the Rise of Rental, Resale and Repair, explores how clothing and footwear companies are developing operating models to address the sustainability issues linked to fashion.

The report cited 39,000 metric tons of clothing dumped in Chile's Atacama desert and 15 million garments pouring into Accra weekly, saying “regulatory pressure is mounting to tackle waste at all stages of the product life cycle”.

And rental and resale in particular “provide an opportunity for higher-end retailers developing their own secondhand capabilities to capture new revenue streams, as well as new customers, while fast-fashion might be priced out”. 

Bloomberg Intelligence based its prediction of a fivefold increase in the market on GlobalData estimates and cited the proliferation of initiatives at brands, as well as the rise of rental or resale specialists ThredUp, Poshmark and The RealReal. Of course, it could also have cited names such as Reflaunt, Hurr or Dotte that are also making a big impact. 

Grace Osborne, senior associate analyst, ESG at Bloomberg Intelligence said: “Companies without their own or partner resale abilities may risk losing sales to consumer-to-consumer (C2C) second hand sites such as Poshmark, Depop, Vinted and TheRealReal. Zara was one of the most-listed brands on Depop in 2021, contributing to the resale platform's £50.1 million in revenue. Zara started its own platform, Pre-owned, to capture this revenue stream. H&M saw an 85% increase in revenue from its resale partnership with Sellpy, targeting €90 million in resales in 2023.

“Retailers developing their own resale platforms stand to gain a revenue stream while those trailing risk canabilisation of sales to C2C platforms.”

The report said “resale is an opportunity for high-end brands to acquire customers who'd been priced out, generating new revenue. Kering took a 5% stake in resale platform Vestaire Collective as part of a strategy to capture younger, green-conscious consumers. Digital IDs will be key in luxury resale, and Richemont-owned Chloé launched product IDs allowing ‘instant resale’ with authenticity and green credentials, critical to overcoming counterfeiting risks”.

The report echoed others in saying luxury has a unique opportunity in resale because it’s “synonymous with longevity and quality. Fast fashion is not. Vestaire banned fast fashion from the platform, hitting 5% of listings, to drive margin and challenge retailers that over-produce. Decoupling revenue and production growth should be a key resale objective, with financial growth coming from less use of resources as targeted by Ralph Lauren”.

And of course, as well as consumers being resale and rental-focused, there’s that regulatory pressure that means resale and rental are increasingly becoming must-haves. The EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles proposes that by 2030, textiles entering the EU must be durable, repairable and recyclable.

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