While the supply chain is of great concern this holiday season for both consumers and retailers alike, the resale market hasn’t missed a beat having continued access to fashion, accessories and luxury items.
Serving as a sort of ecosystem of its own, resale consumers are intrigued by shopping on eBay as they are recognizing the value of items in both the present and future. According to Charis Márquez, head of fashion at eBay, the continued access to fashion, accessories and luxury items meeting an increase in thoughtful consumers has created the “perfect storm” for the resale industry.
Notably, one of the strongest categories for eBay is sneakers, with the company’s recent data showing eBay’s sneakers category has continued to grow at double-digit rates. A pair of sneakers bought every 1.5 seconds on the site and the women’s sneaker category alone grew more than 80 percent over the past year.
Fueling the sellers and buyers of the category, eBay recently launched its new eBay 3D true view technology, which allows shoppers to examine the item they’re browsing from every angle to mirror holding it in their hands. In an official statement, eBay said the new capability is crucial for people buying pre-owned items and looks forward to utilizing the technology for listings more in the coming months.
As the holidays get closer, Márquez shares insights on the future of resale in luxury, eBay’s growing space for buyers and changing consumer sentiment.
WWD: How has eBay seen buyers’ and sellers’ behavior change in the pandemic?
Charis Márquez: Everybody’s sort of in the game, you know, right now, and what we are seeing, and of the most interesting pieces, is this alternate asset class where we have now this generation that [says] I don’t have money right and I don’t know if I understand stocks and real estate that goes up and down but I do get this beautiful pair of shoes. [They] can understand and appreciate an item and that there will be some items that do have future value, that it’s more than just me wearing it today that it’s a long-term purchase that is really being looked at as kind of an alternate asset class right now by this generation.
For a while now we’ve talked about an openness just for resale and use, but I think it’s this element that people are building businesses. This generation is really building businesses out of it, whereas I think if you looked at a lot of the other generations, they were more saying, “I want a Rolex to say that I got this job” or “I want to have a designer bag when I turn, whatever age.” Now, it’s also [consumers saying], “I’m buying this because I know that if I do get sick of it after a certain amount of time, somebody will actually appreciate it later.”
WWD: What are shoppers looking for when they are shopping on eBay?
C.M.: Part of why our authenticity guarantee has been really important is because they are looking for items that they do believe will hold value. When we talk about this generation, they really are looking for investments.
For Gen Z, it’s just silly to buy new, right? Whereas my generation [says] “I don’t want this used T-shirt or sweatshirt,” but we’re the ones selling it. And then Gen Z buys it because it aligns with a value system.
In terms of what people are looking for, they do want to feel like they can trust the product that they bought so we’ve got an authenticity guarantee there. And for more expensive items like a Rolex, we also have the basic protections there that people are looking for but again, it’s really just about the unique and different that people are looking for.
When we think about transitioning into the holiday, I think — I wouldn’t say for the first time — but probably more prevalently people are open to pre-owned from a gifting perspective. I think people have always been, some people have been OK with it for themselves but now because of everything having the supply chain scarcity this, that, and the other, I think there’s an openness.
EBay is really well-positioned because we have all of those unique and different things. I’ve shopped for my kids because they’ll say something random and I don’t know where to find it. EBay is a great place for that just because we already have a lot of new and different things.
We’ve just seen so much happen in the world between being more purpose-driven, intentional, that I think the pandemic has just sort of turned all the beliefs we once had upside down. And that focus is bleeding into everything we do. And now looking at the supply chain, it’s just becoming a perfect storm of knowing you have to really think about this differently and knowing you can’t just go and wait for Black Friday and hope that I’m going to find what I need.
WWD: EBay has an entire section dedicated to luxury gifting for the holidays — how have you managed to drive luxury and where do you see it going?
C.M.: In the end, when it comes to resale, you’re looking for something unique and different. And if you want to know where you’re going to find the biggest breadth and depth in terms of resale, you’re going to go to eBay. Even if you’re not as in love with our experiences as some other platforms, you’re just not going to find just the assortment. And people are looking for things that are unique and that are different, and that really are part of that self-expression.
For luxury, specifically, what’s been helpful for us is our authentication. That guarantee has been a game changer for us because it’s good for the buyer and the seller. We do have a lot of buyers that are sellers and they all kind of become part of the community and having that protection on both sides and kind of that intermediary party has made a huge difference in people saying, “Yes, I’m willing to try on eBay” and ”I feel comfortable if I choose to sell on eBay.” It keeps it within the ecosystem.
WWD: How does eBay encourage users to stay in its ecosystem?
C.M.: An element that’s really helped us kind of keep within the ecosystem is that we encourage continuing to sell after you’ve bought. We have an NFC-capable card that if you tap it with your phone, you can see it’ll take you straight to all of the information on it that was in the listing so that if you wanted to go back listed again, we make it super easy.
There’s less buyer’s remorse because we’re making it really easy if you do choose to resell it as well or if you just want to know the information on this handbag or sneaker. The NFC card is an actual physical little tag but having that digital document iskind of like when you buy a piece of artwork and you have that paper, now we have that digitally. That’s been really powerful for us.
WWD: How have sellers’ behaviors changed during the pandemic?
C.M.: We’ve definitely seen in the time of COVID-19, people building up their businesses. We have plenty of stories of people that had their regular job, were furloughed and then came to eBay and started selling sneakers, or trading cards because they had a bit of interest in a category and in the end, it became a real business.We have a seller that literally was a lawyer and is now making almost as much money as an eBay seller and is really trying to do that full time.
People are kind of just looking at their passion and we definitely are seeing more momentum in that. If we look at the past 18 months, it’s really been around more people just saying, “my closet actually may have some value, so can I create a little business out of it?”
WWD: How does eBay work with its sellers as partners?
C.M.: We connect heavily with them. It’s lots of events with them and we talk through data we went through the business study that we did with them. Anytime we have kind of new information, we really do share it with them in those categories and then we also get information from them.
From our CEO down we all spend time with sellers just understanding their overall pain points and then vice versa like them kind of talking to us about their trends. We had conversations with them about the supply chain to see if they were impacted by it. We’re very well connected and when we have those data points to share or updated terminology we suggest using, they really take it on.