Resale Gaining Steam in Furniture

Resale has been a growing trend over the last few years across apparel and accessories, and now the trend is catching on in the furniture sector.
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New resale markets are popping up all across the internet, with many retailers creating their own marketplaces as consumers flock to channels where sellers and buyers can meet. And according to online furniture marketplace Chairish, the market is growing in the furniture space.

Chairish recently published its first Home Furnishings Real Report for 2021, outlining how shoppers are engaging with second-hand furniture and why the trend has caught on.

Rise of resale


Resale, or recommerce, has become popular among consumers, particularly younger consumers, who desire to reduce their impact on the environment and pay lower prices for quality brands they love. Dubbed “the circular economy,” resale minimizes waste through reusing and reselling goods. 

The resale market is expected to continue growing. The recent sale of Depop to Etsy––a deal valued at $1.6 billion––underscores the rising importance of the recommerce space. Depop is a popular resale marketplace among Gen Z.

As sustainability has become a higher priority for consumers, retailers and brands are creating their own recommerce markets to capitalize on the trend, improve their sustainability efforts and recoup some of the revenue in the secondary market from their products being resold. Major brands, including Nike and Lululemon, have launched resale programs for their customers.

Advantages of resale


Ikea has also recently launched its own resale program in a buyback pilot at a location in Pennsylvania. In the face of supply chain issues and furniture shortages that were accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, resale is making more sense to consumers and retailers in part because the items are in stock.

“It already exists and is ready to ship,” reads Chairish’s report of the benefits of resale. “These items aren’t subject to material or production delays.”

In addition, the point-to-point model of resale reduces shipping times and environmental impact of shipping, since the item typically goes from a seller directly to the buyer. 

“Chairish and other online resale marketplaces foster a sustainable circular economy,” said Anna Brockway, Chairish co-founder and president. “We believe consumer interest in recommerce will continue to accelerate.”

In the furniture space, shoppers are also attracted to the thrill of the hunt and the individuality that resale offers. More than two-thirds of shoppers like pre-owned home decor because of the uniqueness of the pieces, making a one-of-a-kind style achievable. The market also attracts sellers wanting to offload their quality pieces.

Younger consumers are already engaged in the furniture resale marketplace. Forty-four percent of Millennials have already resold pieces of furniture and 44% of Gen Z anticipate reselling their home furnishings in the future, according to Chairish, which surveyed 3,485 Americans in 2021 regarding recommerce in the furniture and home goods retail market.

The future of resale


Numerous predictions suggest that the resale market will continue to grow over the next several years. One of the most popular trends of the future comes from the past, with vintage items being hot commodities.

A majority of shoppers––86%––said they love to hunt for pre-owned, vintage and antique home furnishings, Chairish found. The 24/7 access to a vast selection of unique home items has helped accelerate the trend. 

Another trend in the space is the value in high-end brands and well-known names. Furniture from brands such as Roche Bobois, John Dickinson, Ralph Lauren and George Smith can retain value over time, and consumers even could profit from reselling these items later.

“As consumers become more aware of the environmental impact of what they buy, they are turning to vintage and antiques as a replacement for short-term use of furniture,” said Noel Fahden, Chairish vice president of merchandising.

Chairish’s report underscores the growth of the resale sector and the emerging categories poised to rise in demand. The company has resold more than 550,133 vintage, antique and pre-owned items.