StockX takes advantage of online resale boom, plans European expansion
Launched in 2016, Detroit-based StockX, which is best known for selling sneakers through a stock market-inspired auction system, has been surfing the wave caused by the current booms in apparel and footwear resale and e-commerce. It is an approach which has made the company a key player in an increasingly important market. Last year, StockX's management, led since June 2019 by former New York Stock Exchange VP Scott Cutler, reported that the platform had achieved more than $1 billion in transactions. As well as footwear, the site also offers apparel, bags, accessories and collectors' items.
According to a study from the Cowen Institute, the sneaker resale market could be worth $30 billion by 2030, with countries outside of the U.S. accounting for around $19 billion of this total.
StockX decided to go international two years ago. In 2019, the company, ever-discreet when discussing its revenues, reported that less than a third of its transactions came from its international operations. According to the platform, however, these figures have been soaring since the start of 2020. From July to September, the site has welcomed 25 million visitors per month.
"We've seen a 260% increase in international sales in comparison to last year," explains Olivier Van Calster, VP for international and general manager for Europe at StockX. "Previously in Europe, we had implemented payment solutions in euros. But since launching our localized native language experiences on the French, Italian and German markets, we've seen an explosion in StockX's growth. Overall, we have tripled our sales in Europe."
Furthermore, the executive added, "in the first three weeks of confinement linked to Covid-19, we actually saw a dip in our transactions. Then people began to regain confidence, and the harder the crisis got, the higher our sales rebounded. Above all, the trend has continued and we've seen strong activity in September. These three markets are well above our average growth levels."
This dynamic has led the company to predict sales to triple on these markets from now until the end of the year. Originally targeted at sneakerheads, the platform has since expanded its vision. The company has therefore seen the number of female buyers increase 150% compared to the previous year. The number of Gen-Z consumers using the site has also multiplied, with the demographic now accounting for 62% of the platform's users.
An important step for StockX's international growth plans involves the recruitment of new sneaker buyers and sellers in Europe, but the platform will also have to develop the other categories that it offers. In order to support this development, StockX, which checks the quality of products at facilities in the UK and the Netherlands manned by a total of some 100 employees, is planning to open three new European authentication centers before the end of the year.
As it has developed its presence on European markets, the company has noticed a number of specificities unique to each country. It's no surprise that Nike and Adidas are the most popular brands, both in terms of retail and resale, but each country has its own preferences. In France, for example, StockX found that the classic Jordan 1 Mid is among the most searched for sneaker models and is bought six times more in the country than in the rest of the world.
In Italy, Travis Scott is top of the charts in terms of streetwear resale, while in Adidas' homeland of Germany, one of the brand's models which is not particularly popular on other markets is among the platform's best-selling products: the ZX. StockX further pointed out that in Japan, another country where the company has recently installed itself, New Balance is searched for 700 times more frequently than in the United States.
Asia, where the platform is currently available in Japanese and simplified Chinese, is another of StockX's focuses as it looks to bring a globalized dimension to its transactions. "For example, during the pandemic, there was a shortage of Supreme products," explains Van Calster. "But there were products in Japan, so our Japanese sellers exported to the markets where there was demand, particularly in Europe."
Improving customer experience is one of StockX's main focal points in its efforts to achieve three-figure growth in the coming quarters. The company is therefore preparing versions of the platform in three more European languages for 2021. In the mid-term, the platform is aiming to attain an equal balance between its American and international activities.
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