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BoF Insights | Can a New Investment Help eBay Build Luxury Resale Street Cred?

Investing in a VIP resale platform is another play from the e-commerce pioneer to win over luxury buyers and sellers.
Luxury resale items on a green background including a bag, watch and jewellery.
EBay's latest investment brings the total raised by Cudoni to £14.3 million since its founding in 2017. (EBay)

EBay has not been shy about its ambition to capture more of the luxury resale market. But while the Silicon Valley company is widely considered the pioneer of online peer-to-peer selling for all types of goods since its early startup days in the 1990s, building a business catering to high-end buyers and sellers has been challenging — as even start-up competitors like The RealReal and Vestiaire Collective have also learned.

The news last week that eBay is part of a £7.5 million ($9 million) deal to invest in Cudoni, a UK-based VIP resale service, is just one of several steps the company has been taking to make a bigger mark in luxury resale since the arrival of Jamie Iannone as CEO in 2020.

But resale for high-ticket items like handbags or hype sneakers is arguably more complex than for other categories due to the level of trust that a buyer needs in both the seller and the marketplace before making these relatively pricey purchases.

One part of establishing that trust is assurance that an item is authentic. Both eBay and Cudoni have aimed to address this through their respective authentication programmes. EBay’s Authenticity Guarantee programme launched in 2020 for watches selling for $2,000 and up, and has since expanded to other categories like sneakers and handbags. At Cudoni, authentication and the white-glove service go even further: it has its own team of authenticators and pricing strategists who manage the entire selling process, including home collection and listing items on its platform.

Brand awareness is also critical for building trust, and this is where eBay may be able to bolster Cudoni. Over the years, eBay has forged strong brand awareness in fashion resale, something others in the field — including Cudoni — have yet to achieve. When BoF Insights asked consumers to name fashion resale platforms, The RealReal, Vestiaire Collective as well as eBay topped the list. EBay’s Cudoni investment is a mutually beneficial play, for sure — while Cudoni can ride on the longstanding brand strength of an industry pioneer, eBay gets access to expertise on catering to the top-end consumers of resale.

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BoF Insights Chart Watch

For more in-depth analyses on the resale landscape, see the full report from BoF Insights: The Future of Fashion Resale.

Further Reading

Secondhand fashion has existed for decades, primarily in the form of thrift and vintage stores. However, the advent of online resale platforms in the last 15 years has led to a step change in how pre-owned fashion can be bought and sold.

About the author
Diana Lee
Diana Lee

Diana Lee is the Director of Research & Analysis at The Business of Fashion. She is based in London and oversees the content strategy and roadmap for BoF Insights.

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