Depop, the community-powered marketplace app to buy and sell unique fashion, has conducted research to understand Depop's users’ behaviours when it comes to buying and disposing of fashion items. This research also enabled Depop to calculate its displacement rate - i.e the extent to which purchasing a second hand item on Depop prevents the purchase of a brand new one elsewhere. This is a key data point that helps us understand whether the resale model slows the demand for new fashion.
Our research shows that Depop users that shop secondhand contribute to slowing the consumption of new fashion. Key findings include:
9 in 10 purchases made on Depop prevent the purchase of a brand-new item elsewhere
Depop users estimate that they wear an item a total of 46 times before it is discarded, compared to some studies which estimate some items are discarded after between 1 and 5 wears.
When clearing out their wardrobes, our users have a clear preference for extending the life of garments:
58% donate to a charity or thrift shop
53% sell on
41% pass to friends or family
The results of this research is based on a sample of 5,531 Depop users across three markets (UK, USA, Australia), conducted in March 2022. The survey was open to users who had made a purchase of clothing on Depop (including shoes and accessories) between December 2021 and February 2022 (i.e. a 3 month period).
NOTE: Data points referencing “Depop users” are based on responses from the surveyed user sample (unless otherwise stated). Where findings have been combined across markets, a straight average has been taken and no weighting has been applied to the results to account for the size of the markets. Results given at a total level should therefore be used only to give direction. Depop can provide country specific data upon request.
The time frame was selected to ensure that respondents could accurately recall the purchase on the one hand; while also having had time to receive and use it. The profile of the sample in terms of socio-demographic variables (such as age, gender, etc.) was allowed to fall out naturally in each territory. As we tend to get a more engaged set of users taking part in surveys, we included a prize draw to encourage less engaged users to participate.
To calculate the displacement rate in each of the three markets, we used a series of questions building on the methodology first introduced by WRAP in 2012:
Respondents were asked to answer the following questions about the most recent item of clothing they bought on Depop:
Which of the following statements best applies to the item?
Buying it second hand/on Depop stopped me from buying a brand new item (e.g. I didn’t/won’t need to buy the same or a similar item for a while) [DISPLACEMENT = 100%]
Buying it second hand/on Depop didn’t stop me from buying a brand new item (e.g. I bought the same or a similar item shortly after) [DISPLACEMENT = 0%]
It’s difficult to say [GO TO NEXT QUESTION]
And which of these statements best applies to the item?
Buying it second hand/on Depop probably stopped me buying a brand new item (e.g. I didn’t/won’t need to buy the same or a similar item for a while) [DISPLACEMENT = 50%]
Buying it second hand/on Depop probably didn’t stop me buying a brand new item (e.g. I bought the same or a similar item shortly after). [DISPLACEMENT = 0%]
50% say it prevented a new item [100% displacement] = 50%
20% say it did not prevent a new item not [0%] = 0%
20% say it probably did [50%] = 10%
10% say it probably did not [0%] = 0%
Average rate of displacement = 50% + 0%+ 10% + 0% + = 60%.
Notes on displacement methodology:
The survey took place between 7 - 21 March 2022
It is important to note a potential seasonality impact on the results, given this time period covered winter in the UK and US but summer in Australia.