epop, a fashion marketplace app created by Simon Beckerman, is transforming the fashion industry and gaining traction as a one-stop-online shop for Generation Z.
Even before the beginning of the pandemic, shopping malls were on the decline as online shopping has transformed the retail sector. But this doesn’t mean that teens, who used to congregate and shop en masse at local malls, haven’t magically stopped buying clothes.
In fact, members of Gen Z (who are between the ages of 7 and 22) are actually more inclined to buy clothes, as many want to appear with new outfits on their social channels. This group’s tremendous buying power, which is estimated at over $140 million in the U.S. alone, is forcing companies and brands to shift business models and use social media to promote business in order to appeal to their socially, environmentally, and cost-conscious spending habits.
While companies like Rent the Runway, which rents out designer dresses and accessories, began to shift away from fast fashion in the late 2010s, these mainly appeal to Millennials and Gen X.
This article will go through the history of the Depop, what makes it successful, and who’s already using the app.
What is Depop?
Depop was created by Beckerman in 2011. The business saw big changes in 2016 under the leadership of CEO Maria Raga who brought Beckerman back to help solidify Depop’s brand and vision. Since then, it’s caught the attention of young consumers who value cheap prices, unique articles of clothing, and vintage pieces.
The social commerce app currently has over 15 million users and appeals to Gen Z’s search for unique clothing and distaste for fast fashion. Defined as "clothing designs that move quickly from the catwalk to stores to meet new trends," fast fashion has come under fire in recent years due to the negative environmental impact it promotes.
If Instagram and eBay had a child, it would be Depop. The app allows users to operate “shops” where they can list upcycled, thrift-store finds, and vintage clothing for free. When it sells, the owner of the shop pays 10% of its cost to Depop.
However, the app isn’t limited to just clothing. Users can also sell jewelry, art, beauty products, sports equipment, books and magazines, music, and, more recently, face masks.
Users can also follow and rate shops, comment on posts, and message the shop owners directly for a more interactive experience. This is a key factor in Gen Z’s love for the app.
What Are Depop's Features?
Depop combines all the things online shoppers love about the commerce experience with exceptional and cutting edge features. This section will dive into what each feature does and how you can get the most out of it.
Upon first opening the app, you’ll come across Depop’s Explore page, which shows users recommended items, trending items, and a “meet sellers” section.
The bottom half of the page will keep you continuously scrolling as it presents the app’s “Things We Love” section.
Similar to an Instagram feed, this page only shows items posted by shops you follow. By either clicking on individual items on the Explore page, proactively searching for unique shops, or stumbling across a shop that regularly posts products you love, you can click on the “follow” button at the top of the seller’s page. This allows you to see all of your favorite shops’ posts in one place to streamline your shopping experience.
This page puts the customer first through its easy-to-use and clean design. Using the search feature is as easy as typing in a brand (such as Levi’s) or related keywords (like high waisted jeans size 26 or Atlanta Olympics) for items you want. The search tool isn’t only limited to clothing, and you can also use the feature to search for other items such as makeup, various accessories, movies, and posters.
Once you get the results, you can then choose to filter the items by your pre-selected sizes or sort by relevance, most popular, or newly listed.
Arguably one of the best features of the app is the easy-to-adjust personalized filters. When you make an account, it’ll ask you for your shoe, top, and bottoms sizes (you can even input multiple sizes in each category). While you’re browsing through the app, whether you’re searching on the home page or looking at your favorite seller, you can easily set those personalized filters and the app will only show the items that fit you.
This makes the experience highly personalized and saves your time from scrolling through countless pages of items that won’t fit.
The private messaging feature is another way Depop stands apart from others in the marketplace. The ability to interact with the seller directly allows for a more personalized and shopping experience.
You can use the messaging feature to ask clarifying questions about a product you like, ask for additional photos, bargain for items, receive updates on the shipping information on purchased items, or just send an encouraging message to a shop you adore.
Who's Using Depop?
Gen Z & Millennials
These two age groups make up 90% of Depop’s 15 million worldwide users. The app’s success can be attributed to the business model as it largely aligns with Gen Z’s values.
For one thing, many of Depop’s clothing items are cheap, which appeals to Gen Z’s more fiscally responsible nature. In a study conducted by Business Insider, 60% of Gen Z said the price was the main motivator when deciding whether or not to buy an apparel item.
And unlike its generational predecessors, Gen Z doesn’t define themselves by the brands that they buy and wear. This makes Depop’s wide array of brands and styles even more appealing. The large selection also aligns with a large percent of Gen Z members who want their clothing that will reflect their personalities and make them stand out versus conforming to a specific look.
Buying upcycled articles of clothing or rare thrift shop finds also aligns with Gen Z’s environmentally-conscious values. Members of Gen Z are more likely to buy from sustainable brands and will even pay more for them, according to a 2019 study. Since Depop promotes buying previously-owned products and many shops champion sustainability, this app is a favorite among Gen Z.
The ability to start a shop and start selling is another major draw for Gen Z. The younger generation is constantly proving that its members are willing to harness their creativity and passions to make money and build a personal brand. Whether they’re vlogging on YouTube, streaming on Twitch, dancing on TikTok, or influencing on Instagram, Gen Z tends to use all the tools at their disposal to make some extra income.
Companies big and small have since hopped on the Depop bandwagon and are seeing increased sales and brand awareness.
Sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, creators of the high-end fashion label, RODARTE, recently expanded their casual wear line to the app. Users can buy from a special collection of T-shirts and sweatshirts that reflect the sisters’ laid back California roots from the brand’s Depop shop.
Recently, earring brand Studs also opened a Depop shop to sell its extra inventory. To date, the New York-based company has sold over 500 products through Depop. The brand is also driving traffic to its main site by spreading brand awareness and offering a special checkout code for 15% off their online purchase.
Depop is also a way for small, vintage shops to display their inventories to a larger audience. For example, Los Angeles and Australia-based vintage shop, Singulier, has used the app to sell over 3K items; and its Depop shop has 47K followers and a five-star rating.
Celebrities and Influencers
Brands aren’t the only ones creating shops and sharing their looks with Depop’s users. Celebrities and influencers have also begun to sell their clothing and accessories on the app and are joining the community of fashion lovers.
Rapper Megan Thee Stallion, of WAP and “Savage” fame, posted and sold 46 items (some which were even worn on her music video sets) on her shop with all proceeds going toward the nonprofit F*ck Cancer.
Depop is also home to popular Gen Z influencers. Devon Carlson, a popular influencer, vlogger, and co-founder of Wildflower Cases also has a shop on the app with close to 70K followers. She sells a collection of brand-name accessories, vintage tops and bottoms, and graphic tees, among other items.
Depop is at the forefront of Gen Z shopping habits and will continue to shape the fashion industry. By identifying the values Gen Z cares about — low costs, sustainability, transparency, and a passion to be creators themselves — and tailoring the app to align with them, Depop has grown into a popular place to shop for unique finds.
Depop has also proven to be a popular place for young fashion lovers and entrepreneurs to spread their wings and post alongside even the most established brands, celebrities, and influencers.