What Is the Future of Consignment?

January 16, 2020

The future of consignment is full of promise! This year is all about 20/20 vision. Since it’s the beginning of the year and a new decade, now’s the time to look at the future of consignment. Everything I read suggests it’s extremely sunny. Pay attention to these 5 trends.

#1 A Resale Revolution

“Resale becomes more mainstream,” was the subhead in a Retail TouchPoints article. Everyone is adding some form of resale today. For instance, Macy’s added thredUp.¬†Designer Eileen Fisher created the Renew program. Christmas 2019 was the first major holiday to break the only-new-gifts ceiling. Before, shoppers bought quality used gift items but never admitted it. In 2019, smart and eco-friendly shoppers chose a resale Christmas gift. According to thredUp’s 2020 Resale Report by the year 2024, the secondhand market will hit 64B. ¬†Now, that’s a bright future!

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#2 The “Temporary” Consumer

Temporary consumers want an ever-changing, never-owning lifestyle. This trend particularly applies to Gen Z (anyone born between ’97 and ’12). This sharing economy links people directly with each other. Like Airbnb and Uber, Depop links buyers and sellers of clothing. Both rental companies, Rent The Runway and West Elm, give consumers a chance to have a little luxury without buying. PSFK reports, “the number of people who participate in the sharing economy is projected to increase to 86.5 million by 2021.” That’s nearly double what it was in 2016. Why does this help the future of consignment? It’s one more step to the full acceptance of reusing merchandise.

#3 The Growth of the Marketplace

Not every part of resale’s rosy future is secondhand. Marketplaces are popping up all over the country. Like an antique mall, marketplaces sell a variety of products from one location. Essentially, they’re a brick and mortar Etsy. Marketplace owners rent space and use vendor-managed inventory. Often, these items are handmade. Consider the L & L Factory Marketplace in Nashville. The original factory, built-in 1929, started as a hosiery mill. Decade after decade, different products were made and sold out of its doors. Today, it is a premier shopping spot. More consumers now choose to shop locally. They’re looking for unique, one-of-a-kind products. As a result, they’re avoiding big box stores and shopping small.

#4 A Sustainable Circular Economy

What Is the Future of Consignment?

Sustainability. Not a new word, but an important one for this next decade. Today’s consumers seek products with a small carbon footprint. Whether it’s climate change, ocean trash, or chemical pollution, consumers want manufacturers to take responsibility. Fast fashion’s decline is bankrupting stores like Forever 21. Manufacturers like Colgate-Palmolive are inventing recyclable toothpaste containers. Rothy’s creates shoes from recycled water bottles. I’ve said it many times before. There is nothing more sustainable than the resale industry. Due to the growing concern over the environment, the future of consignment is bright.

#5 The Quality of Today’s Resale Stores

As resale and consignment shops move into the mainstream, the look of their brick and mortar stores has changed. To be competitive, shop owners know they need to up their game. Most secondhand shops are now merchandised with only quality items. Consignors are required to bring their newest and best merchandise. Today’s consignment stores regard branding, marketing, online sales, and a solid POS system as essential. As shops improve, so will the acceptance of secondhand.

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