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Thursday, March 4, 2021

How Poshmark plans to capitalize on the pet adoption and resale boom by launching a pets category on its platform

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Poshmark Pets

Poshmark is expanding into pet products

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The resale world is not just for humans anymore.

Poshmark, a peer-to-peer resale platform, announced the launch of a pet category on Thursday. Poshmark marketplace users will now be able to purchase secondhand pet accessories and essentials like collars, leashes, toys, cages, clothing, shampoo, and water bowls and more for their dogs, cats, fish, and reptiles. All items listed and sold will have to be clean, in good condition, and adhere to Poshmark’s community guidelines.

“Now we cover all of the family members in the household,” said Poshmark cofounder and senior vice president of new markets Tracy Sun in an interview with Insider. “And in that way, Poshmark isn’t just for the two-legged anymore. We’re now introducing the four-legged.”

Poshmark is one of many resale platforms that saw an uptick in sales listings and engagement during the pandemic. Coming off the success of its late 2020 IPO, Poshmark’s latest initiative represents a strategy of growth and expansion into new categories. The fast-growing company started trading in January, pricing its IPO at $42 a share, which gave the company an initial valuation of more than $3 billion.

According to research from thredUp, the total secondhand market is projected to grow from $28 billion to $64 billion by 2025 despite current headwinds faced across the entire retail industry. 

“We’re a very asset-light business,” Sun said, noting how Poshmark’s peer-to-peer model keeps it free of the burden of inventory. “And because of that it enables us to scale our model quite well.”

How pet care and resale will mix

Poshmark’s decision to go all-in on pet resale was a result of multiple factors. For starters, a pandemic-era pet adoption boom made it clear that the category was full of opportunity. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA) 67% of Americans owned pets in 2020, up from 56% in 1988.

Sun noted that there was a discernible uptick in demand in the pet category within Poshmark, according to search query data, user surveys, and general feedback from users.

“People who are pet owners, they often consider their pets part of the family,” Sun said, explaining Poshmark’s decision to launch the new category. “And so if they want to buy accessories for their pets or toys for their pets, it’s very important to them.”

Of course, pet product resale is not a new concept. Resale marketplaces like eBay and OfferUp sell new and used pet care products. Luxury consignment retailer The RealReal sells high-end pet accessories like a Burberry dog bowl and a Vivienne Westwood leash. Still, Poshmark’s apparel-specific competitors like thredUp and Depop do not offer products in the category.

The pet category was especially attractive to Poshmark, given the platform’s history of community building. Poshmark encourages seller-to-seller and seller-to-buyer interactions before and during sales and via networking events like PoshFest, a feature that differentiates the platform from similar companies. Insider recently interviewed a Poshmark seller who said the community aspect of Poshmark was one of the most important features in making her experience on the platform enjoyable.

This community aspect, Sun said, made Poshmark an ideal place for a new pet-focused community to grow.

“We absolutely were thinking about this category as a way to connect pet lovers together to talk about their pets and connect over it, be social, and also be sustainable in their options,” Sun said. “So that is a competitive advantage for Poshmark that doesn’t exist elsewhere.”

Plans for future growth

According to Sun, expanding into new categories like pets is just one element of Poshmark’s four-pronged approach to long-term growth in 2021. The platform is also looking to grow its online community of users, expand its international presence, and release new services and tools to enable sellers to get the most out of their listings.

“Despite the rise and trend of resale, we’re really still in the early stages. And I think there is a lot of room for everyone and a lot of room to grow,” she said.

Poshmark’s position at the intersection between e-commerce, resale, and social interaction makes Sun confident in the company’s ability to continue to grow, even once the pandemic ends.

“The seeds were planted years ago,” Sun said. “Once the penetration is so high, I don’t think we’ll go back.”


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