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As a deal-fanatic mom, I am always elbows deep in Facebook resale groups (BST) and used clothing resale sites.
Secondhand-kids-clothes-shopping isn’t quite blood-sport, but these resale groups are as intense as they are playful. Loaded with scavenger-moms circling in on under-priced twirly dresses and joggers and shorties.
Any BST mom worth her salt will tell you that BST groups are economical – you can re-sell top brands, gently used, for the same price you bought them. Making your kids’ stylish (if not lavish) wardrobe effectively free.
It’s all about the re-sale value, baby.
Curious, I decided to find out. As a marketing-data-nerd, I spent 60 odd hours and a half dozen pots of coffee to figure it all out.
Childhoods Clothing Has the Best Resale Value (Tea Collection Has the Worst)
Childhoods Clothing has the best re-sale value. On average, a Childhoods item will re-sell for 70-cents on the dollar of its original price. A 70% re-sale value, for children’s sweats and cozy wear, is huge.
Tea Collection fares the worst, at an average 47% re-sale value. And the other four brands analyzed (Lulu + Roo, Alice + Ames, Boden Kids, and Hanna Andersson) had re-sale values ranging from 52% to 64%.
RESEARCH NOTES: Re-sale price of nearly 1,000 garments was analyzed. 80 garments per brand, in varying re-sale conditions, on each re-sale site. There was not a meaningful price difference (+/- 3%) between items with or without free shipping. Data was gathered from Poshmark and Mercari since these re-sale sites provide searchable, drillable data on “sold” items. Kidizen does not provide searchable marketplace data for “sold” items. Additionally, I’ve noticed that re-sale prices on Mercari and Kidizen are quite similar for the brands analyzed in this study.
average re-sale Price per Item
Childhoods Clothing, Lulu + Roo, and Mini Boden garments have the highest average re-sale price per garment, ranging fromm $21 to $24.
At $13, Tea Collection has the lowest re-sale price per garment.
The original price, that the re-sale value is compared against, is not the the “full price”. The original price is the average sales price of the garment, as listed on the retailer’s website, over the past 6 months. The original price takes into account promotions, sales, and sign-up discounts. I looked at every price (from deeply discounted to full price) over the past 6 months to reach an “average” original price.
Gender Neutral Clothing Has the Best Re-Sale Value
Gender neutral clothes has a 60% re-sale value vs girls and boys clothing with a roughly 55.5% re-sale value. The difference is marked, but perhaps less significant than most Buy-Sell-Traders believe.
Gender neutral clothes may sell faster (there is a larger market), but “boy” and “girl” clothing re-sale value is still quite strong.
EUC and NWOT Clothing Has Better Re-Sale Value than NWT Clothing
Brand new clothing, with tags attached, does not have the best re-sale value.
NWOT (New Without Tag) and EUC (Excellent Used Condition) clothing have better re-sale value than NWT (New With Tag) clothes.
Surprisingly, there’s very little difference in the resale value of GUC (Good Used Condition) clothing and NWT clothing. NWT clothing sells for 3.7% more, on average. Or put another way, GUC clothing only sells for 3.7% less than NWT clothing.
You might be doing a double-take at this figure, but again, it’s looking at the re-sale value and condition of 1,000 garments. It runs counter to our intuition and it just “feels” wrong. And of course, everyone has seen plenty of examples of NWT clothing going for a king’s ransom – while GUC’s in the same sales purge fetch just a few bucks. I know I have. But these dozen of examples I can recall (with minimal cobwebs) don’t seem to match the broader market trend.
To be sure, clothing “condition” is somewhat subjective since it is seller reported. One mom’s EUC is another mom’s GUC, or even “Play”. (Play condition is meant to indicate a major garment flaw like a rip, hole, or large, visible stain.)
I’m not quite sure why NWT garments have such low re-sale value. I hypothesize this is because NWT garments are often:
- Clearance items – seasonal, holiday, or unpopular prints, designs, and fits.
- Purchased deliberately to “flip”.
- Competing with clearance prices on the retailer’s website.
- Quickly “unloaded”. Sellers want to unload NWT items (purchased to flip) as quickly as possible, and will accept “lowball” offers if they leave enough margin for the seller to make a profit.
I suspect that NWOT items, generally, are items:
- Popular stylish items in colors and prints with broad universal appeal (not season specific).
- Purchase to actually be worn (before re-selling).
- Overlooked amid a sea of clothing in the closet.
SHORTIES HAVE THE BEST RESALE VALUE; SWEATERS AND CARDIGANS HAVE THE WORST
Shorties and bummies (bottoms that cover the bum and show off those chunky thighs) have the best re-sale value, followed by tanks, sweatshirts, and hoodies, which seems to underscore how gender neutral garments fare better than gender-specific ones on the re-sale market.
I completed this analysis in late August and early September when the re-sale market was heavy with tank tops and shorties. In December, the outlook could be different. I’ll pull data then as well to compare. But I’ll also note that the market is heavy on brand new clearance tank tops and clearance shorts and shorties, too. And these clearance prices are not driving down re-sale value. Resale sites are not awash with sellers buying and flipping clearance shorties.
Dresses and joggers, the kid’s items I see most commonly bought and sold on used marketplaces, are middle of pack when it comes to holding their re-sale value. And sweaters and cardigans just don’t seem to fare that well. I think it’s because sweaters and cardigans tend to easily shrink, fade, pill, and lint.
FINAL THOUGHTS AND TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS RE-SALE DATA
I think having these figures and charts are helpful – especially the price list for how much specific garments sell for. It’s not the Holy Grail of re-sale pricing so much as it is a directional roadmap. It gives you a good idea of how much a hoodie or pair of leggings might go for.
Of course, BST groups on Facebook are going to be cheaper than clothing re-sale sites like Mercari or Poshmark. Maybe 10% to 20% cheaper. And even cheaper, local clothing resell groups on Facebook are going to have lower prices yet. An analysis of BST group prices and re-sale values may be the next rabbit hole I go down: where the data collection process is far more complicated and time consuming.
But for now, my main takeaways are to stop buying cardigans brand new (unless they’re on clearance), price my “Play” items a little higher, and let my kids really truly wear their clothes. From Carter’s to Stella McCartney to Bang Bang Copenhagen to SHEIN kids clothing – their closet runs the gamut. And I’m going to let my kids wear them, all, down to the studs.
Let little Harper and Liam eat spaghetti and blow bubbles in their Lulu + Roo joggers and Childhoods beach hoodies and Mini Boden applique shirts. You can pre-treat and pre-soak their clothes into GUC respectability afterwards, or sell them flawed for $10. Lose $5 to $10 in re-sale value, gain dozens more hours of childhood bliss.
Just my two-cents – now.
Ask me again when I find a nickel sized hole in my daughter’s HTF Stars on Quartz ruby joggers.
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