Will Circular Commerce Drive Traffic to Stores?

Will Circular Commerce Drive Traffic to Stores?

Estimated Read Time: 2 - 3 Minutes

Resale is enormously popular, and only growing more so; the US market is projected to be valued at over $353b by 2030, up 154% from 20201. When you think resale, your mind naturally goes to apparel. In fact, secondhand apparel does account for a pretty big piece of the pie and is expected to grow 16x faster than the market for new apparel by 2026 – but these upward trends in resale are occurring across all retail categories2. They aren't exclusive to Goodwill, specialty thrift stores, and online marketplaces either. Some big-name brands like Home Depot, Dick's, REI, and Ikea are hopping on board, offering customers buyback, secondhand, and rental programs. Big picture, there is a lot going on in the resale market, but it goes without saying that a big player enabling its gain in traction is sustainability.

Resale supports a circular ecological system where rather than being sent to the landfill, items (sometimes refurbished) enter into the hands of a new owner. As a result, in comparison to buying new, the resale market requires fewer virgin materials, energy, and water, reduces pollution and waste, and preserves natural resources. At our current rate of consumption, the world would need 1.8 Earths to keep up. If everyone lived like we do in the US, that number jumps to 5.1 Earths3! Resale presents a great opportunity to cut down on overconsumption and create a more sustainable retail environment. And it isn't only consumers and the environment who will benefit, but brands too.

Given the above, we wanted to find out what consumers thought about resale. In a recently conducted survey, we asked 2,500 consumers across multiple generations to tell us about their habits when it comes to shopping, buying, selling, or trading used products. The results were powerful. Over 71% of respondents said that they participate in shopping for used merchandise at least once a month – 11% participate daily, 26% weekly, and 33% monthly. Turns out, the motivation to shop secondhand is connected to many factors, like fun, 'treasure hunting,' price, and of course, ecological benefits.

As consumer demand continues to veer more towards sustainable shopping, brands should be inclined to jump on board and introduce greener options. But could the opportunity for brands introducing resale be even bigger? Due to the rise in e-commerce, retailers have been struggling for over 25 years to garner foot traffic to their stores. In many cases, this decline has required them to close the doors to one of their biggest sources of profit. We're finding that resale is potentially a lot more profitable in-store than online – think photo shoot, double ship, and repackaging of items. All of this begs the question: if done right at the store level, can resale drive foot traffic back to stores?

We're working on a new white paper that will answer this question and that will reveal the full results of our findings with learning and implications for retailers of all stripes.

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