The company is entering a new market in hopes of recovering from the pandemic.
A fashion rental platform Rent the Runway has announced that it also plans to resell branded clothing. From now on, it will be possible to rent clothes and buy them at attractive prices, and if anyone can do this, buyers will no longer be required to be a member of the company's programs. The latter is expected to expand the number of potential buyers significantly.
The coronavirus pandemic has taken a severe toll on Rent the Runway's business. Locked into their homes and clad in sweatpants, people had little interest in renting fashionable clothes. The company was forced to close most of its retail stores and lay off a significant number of employees. Subscription plans were also revised, removing the unlimited option, moving to simplified schemes that allowed renting no more than 4, 8, or 16 items.
And while Rent the Runway notes that the recent trend toward wearing nice and fancy stuff is back, it's not enough to fully recover from the upheaval of 2020. But entering a new market could very well fix that, especially since it looks very promising indeed.
According to GlobalData, by the end of this year, the total resale market for clothing in the U.S. will be worth $33 billion. By 2024, that number will reach $64 billion. And although there are a lot of different companies that have been engaged in resale for more than a year, the large volume of this market makes it relatively easy for new players.
It is expected that very shortly the world is waiting for a rapid increase in interest in fashionable clothes. Consumers are tired of comfortable but faceless home clothes, and stylish clothes can become very popular again. But since many shoppers' incomes have fallen sharply during the pandemic, many of them will be happy to buy second-hand clothes. In particular, there has been an increase in demand for outdoor items. For example, according to Rent the Runway, demand for short dresses in the U.S. has doubled since 2019.
A rise will also help the growth of the used clothing market in "green" sentiment. Many modern shoppers no longer want to support a fast fashion industry that negatively impacts the environment. And instead of going to the landfill after the first season, things will last several years, changing owners at the same time. Such an approach will allow consumers to regularly update their closet, replenishing it with trendy items without causing additional damage to the environment. And to your wallet, too.