Resale Trends and the New Sustainability Strategy

Though the exhibitors at the NRF Big Show 2023 were mostly focused on tech, there were still a few sustainably focused businesses. With that being said, there were numerous presentations from industry experts on everything from improving your sustainability strategy and integrating resale into your retail business.

Improving your Sustainability Strategy

There were numerous presentations from CEOs and CSOs (Chief Sustainability Officer) on how to improve your sustainability strategy for your retail business. First and foremost was the shifting from a separate sustainability strategy, to integrating sustainability into every element of your business strategy.

The time for making small, incremental changes is gone was another theme of the sustainability strategy. Customers understand this reality and businesses must react accordingly. Though businesses may not have the ability to make all these improvements perfectly, we are also in a time of consistent and accessible feedback from consumers. When implementing a sustainability strategy for various operations, your customers will tell you where this falls flat or where they see the real improvements needing to be made. Accept the criticism, and use this to your advantage.

Integrating Resale into your Retail Business

There was a lot of talk around resale at NRF this year, both on and off the stage. There were numerous businesses who help integrate resale into your current business, and others who were explaining how they integrated resale on their own. This was incredibly useful for businesses to understand whether or not they should outsource or do it themselves, but our favourite element (through an analyst lens) is the data. IKEA presented on their resale business, and added some research done in collaboration with a consulting firm to gather the following insights (from WD research):

  • How often do you shop, buy, sell, or trade used products?
    • At least once a month – 71%
    • At least once a week – 38%
  • What percentage of your actual purchases have been used, resale, or vintage over the past year?
    • At least half – 33%
    • At least a quarter – 84%

This was very insightful, especially considering that this study had a wide age demographic with 2,500 consumers in the US. This shows that people are definitely engaging in resale, and that this trend is starting to increase (recently has been growing by 218% at IKEA).  


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