On Wednesday, the shopping site Etsy announced it was buying Depop for $1.625 billion in a mostly cash deal. Depop, a secondhand shopping platform designed for the age of influencers selling stuff on social media, will continue to operate as its own standalone marketplace. Etsy, meanwhile, says that by acquiring the platform, it’s adding “the resale home for Gen Z consumers” to its roster.
Perhaps best known for kitschy home decor, vintage clothes, and handmade goods, Etsy is staking its claim on a much younger generation of sellers and shoppers with the Depop purchase, rather than trying to reach those buyers on its own platform. The acquisition makes some business sense, too, as the two companies have a similar model: connecting independent sellers of goods to buyers. Still, Etsy is better known for homemade goods and crafts, while Depop is most famous for selling clothes.
But these two platforms have also cultivated buyers and sellers with profoundly different approaches to social media and online shopping, so merging their styles could be a struggle. The Depop deal comes as Etsy says it wants to become the home of multiple e-commerce brands that cater to new audiences. (Etsy bought Reverb, a marketplace for new and used musical instruments and equipment, back in 2019.) At the same time, the company might have a lot to gain from Depop’s influencer-based approach to selling clothing online.
Founded in 2011, Depop has become the secondhand marketplace for a new generation of social media users. Some 90 percent of active Depop users are younger than 26, and the platform is supposed to be the 10th most-visited shopping site among Gen Z-ers in the US. Like Poshmark or Mercari, Depop includes a social component to the buying and selling experience. Sellers manage their own profiles and accounts, and many model their own clothes. Some sellers also repurpose vintage clothing, adding a handmade component to certain products. On Depop, for instance, a buyer might find a pair of deconstructed sneakers repurposed as a top or purses made of woven-together candy wrappers. This sort of thing could line up with the crafting tradition at Etsy.
But part of what makes Depop distinct — and valuable to Etsy — is that it encourages a very specific strategy for sellers, encouraging an extremely online, highly social, and younger aesthetic. The fact Depop looks more like a social network than Etsy matters for this approach. Depop sellers are encouraged to promote their own shop profiles, especially on Instagram, which Depop says is “one of the best ways to build your brand and your customer base.” Sellers and buyers will often turn to other platforms, such as TikTok and YouTube, where there’s a broader community of teens and 20-somethings focused on secondhand fashion.
Depop says its mission is building a “community-powered fashion ecosystem that’s kinder on the planet and kinder to people.” The platform has prioritized the sale of used clothing, which can help curtail the environmental harms of fast fashion. And Depop has also benefited not only from the growth of social media communities interested in secondhand fashion but also those centered on climate change. The approach seems to work: In 2020, Depop made $70 million in revenue, and the company had 4 million active buyers and 2 million active sellers.
https://www.vox.com/recode/22465 ... -social-media-gen-z