At the end of June, luxury resale platform Vestiaire Collective announced a funding round to the tune of $45 million led by Bpifrance, a few months after Lazada founder Max Bittner joined in January as its new CEO. Armed with new capital and leadership, Vestiaire Collective is focused on internal transformation via technology to stay competitive in the crowded resale market.
Glossy spoke with Bittner about where he thinks resale is headed and what Vestiaire Collective has in store.
What kind of technology are you investing in with this funding round?
This investment round will support our continued international expansion, internal recruitment and focus on sophisticated tech and data solutions. Tech innovation, customer engagement and discoverability are absolutely key to the next stage of development. We know that customers are looking beyond traditional e-commerce models. They want to have an engaging experience and expect a higher level of personalization and social interaction, which we are prioritizing. We will also be announcing strategic online and offline partnerships soon.
How is the resale market changing?
There’s a combination of factors driving the rapid growth of the resale market boom. Firstly, there’s increased consumer awareness and interest in sustainability, leading consumers to look to resale as a smart investment and an eco-conscious alternative to fast fashion. The clear departure from “ownership” answers the addiction to newness, as more people prioritize usage over possession. Finally, the fashion industry has become more reliant on APAC for growth and a large chunk of its sales. We recently launched our Hong Kong office and have already seen a 140% GMV growth in the second quarter of 2019.
The resale market is going to continue to expand in the next few years. We recently conducted a global survey exploring consumer awareness and attitudes about resale, and over 40% said they now buy and sell more pre-owned clothing than five years ago. The resale market is estimated to be worth around $28 billion currently but is predicted to more than double this by 2022.
Do you think the relationship between brands and resellers is changing?
The resale market is growing over 20 times faster than the fashion industry overall, making it impossible for brands to ignore. When Vestiaire Collective launched in 2009, there wasn’t much competition in the online resale market. You had marketplaces, such as eBay, but they lacked any curation or authenticity process, so they weren’t suited for luxury fashion. In the last 10 years, Vestiaire Collective has really shifted the perception of the second-hand market and has made pre-owned aspirational. Data now shows that consumers are more likely to purchase directly from a brand firsthand after shopping the resale market. We’re creating a path for gateway customers to develop a long-term relationship with a brand and believe that our evolving app and social platform will be a draw for brands to engage with our global community.