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The Rise of Re-commerce: Shop Used in a New Way

Fact: There is $7,000 worth of unused stuff in your home. But turning that stuff into cash isn't easy, and most consumers don't even know where to start.

Despite a decade of e-commerce innovation, services that sell or rent used goods never became mainstream. Is it because we live in a throw away society? Or because "used" isn't sexy? Whatever the reason, resale hasn't received much attention since eBay's launch in 1995.

But as Bob Dylan once said, the times, they are a-changin’. Consumers are becoming increasingly conscientious. Shoppers are demanding environmentally responsible options at lower prices. Resale’s time is now, and new Internet start-ups are stepping up to the plate, meeting consumer demands with innovative twists on an age-old industry.

The “re-commerce” market is defined by the recovery of product through online distribution channels. We’ll explore the growing consumer need for resale and the challenges tied to building these platforms online.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. First Research estimates that resale is a $13B industry. What is the real opportunity here, and is the industry growing? What does the future look like for secondhand?
  2. Why has there been so little innovation in resale since eBay and Craigslist? And who are the new players?
  3. What are the environmental impacts if consumers choose not to embrace reuse? Why are platforms that support re-distribution such a crucial part of long-term sustainability?
  4. What are the challenges associated with launching an online resale business?
  5. How are big brands like Patagonia and GAP embracing secondhand and recycling?



Karen Fein, Marketing, thredUP

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