The Vinted app now has 16 million users in Spain. The opportunity to look back on the career of a web giant, born in Lithuania in the mind of a young student.
We see it more and more in small daily exchanges around a coffee or a restaurant table: Vinted and second-hand products, especially in clothing, are really on the rise. So much so that “I sold it on Vinted” are gradually replacing “I sold it on Le Bon Coin”. Knowing a huge success with the Spanish youth, Vinted indeed allows you to empty the dressing rooms, unearth nuggets, but also to make a little pocket money. “I really love selling, getting rid of clothes that I no longer wear and which take up a lot of space, preparing parcels, etc., says Elodie, a user of the app. For those who like to hunt around, it is delightful to find a piece that is no longer in store, that we may have missed when it came out, sometimes new and for half the price!” Same observation at Adèle: “There are good surprises with branded items, very seasonal, where you just have to wait for someone to put the cheaper model on Vinted”. But if the success of the application is still recent, the company blew its thirteenth candle this year and millions of Spaniards now use it daily.
A project initially without ambitions
Founded in 2008 in Vilnius, capital of Lithuania, by Milda Mitkute and Justas Janauskas, Vinted was originally a platform for the exchange and resale of second-hand clothes, targeting almost exclusively a female clientele. “Milda was still a student and above all passionate about fashion, says Natacha Blanchard, communications director at Vinted. The idea came to her when she moved to Vilnius to study there. She found that she simply had too many clothes to take with her. That's when she wanted to create a website where she could give away her clothes to her friends. Justas, who is a developer, therefore helped her find a solution to implement her platform idea”.
Realizing the potential of this platform, which was to be a small-scale project, the two founders then sought new investors and markets. The company launched two years later on the German and American markets, but it is in Spain that it has had its greatest success since its launch in France in 2013. Yet largely occupied by renowned platforms such as eBay, Le Bon Coin, or more modest ones such as Vestiaire Collective and Videdressing, Spain is today the app's main market with “more than 16 million registered members”.
On May 12, 2021, Vinted grew a little more. The European startup has announced the closing of a new funding round of 250 million euros ($303 million at today's rates), which values the company at 3,5 billion euros ($4,2 billion). An exponential increase when we remember that the company “weighed” 1 billion dollars at the end of 2019.
Sell, but on a social network
Of course, Vinted is not alone in the niche. If you still use Facebook, you will surely have noticed that Mark Zuckerberg's application offers a section dedicated to the sale of objects, called Marketplace. You can find everything there: headphones, fans, cars, housing… That being said, Marketplace is more like a newspaper's classifieds page than a sales platform. Besides, there is no direct sale. On the other hand, Facebook allows direct contact with the seller – the two protagonists to manage for the settlement.
So says May, a 28-year-old graphic designer and avid app user. “I did some selling on Facebook's Marketplace, as well as on Le Bon Coin, but these platforms are less fashion-oriented, she explains. In 2018, I was working for a ready-to-wear brand and had the opportunity to buy some bargain-priced pieces during staff sales. As we couldn't try on the spot, that's when I downloaded Vinted to resell what didn't suit me”. And become addicted to it. “We know that the community aspect on Vinted is very important for its users”, confirms the company.
The Vinted interface. © TechnologiesTips
With Vinted, we mix a sales platform and the beginnings of a social network. Users are invited to create a profile there, to complete it (incidentally) with their photograph, identity and age. You can then search by keywords, but also search and follow specific members. The best sellers usually have a large number of subscribers, which instills trust, and so on. Vinted also uses a very specific code for our time: rating. Similar to an Uber driver at the end of a ride, you are prompted to leave a rating and review for the transaction. More surprisingly, internal messaging can be described as instantaneous since the user receives his notifications and read receipts, the caller's last connection time also being accessible.
Vinted has refined its operation in order to guarantee sellers optimal conditions of use. “Vinted is a market that does not provide fees for sellers, and it was one of the first to do so, explains Natacha Blanchard. It costs nothing to create ads, make sales, and withdraw earnings to your bank account. There are no limits or special conditions. Sellers can always keep whatever they earn.” Not everything is perfect either. May considers that “there is not enough education about the questionable practices of certain vinties” and that the application could generally be improved, whether in terms of categories, the classification of articles or even options for filtering.
How to measure the popular success of an application? In Internet culture, when we begin to be parodied, it means that a certain dynamic has taken place. Many Facebook, Instagram or Twitter accounts, sometimes very popular, thus flourish on the platforms by seizing incredible, ridiculous, sometimes shameful exchanges, known between Vinted users. And it is also in this that it is easy to bring Vinted closer to a social network; people follow each other there, exchange a lot, recommend each other, argue...
On TikTok, the hashtag Vinted has accumulated more than 483 million views at the time of writing these lines. Users exchange their tips, but also adventures that have occurred on the app, or make fun of the sometimes improbable packaging used by the vinties. The application and the exchanges have also become objects of memes, sometimes for practices that question. By collecting our testimonials, many users have told us about rather surreal exchanges with lovers of unwashed clothes or worn shoes. On Twitter, the BestofVinted account has more than 300 subscribers and publishes funny exchanges on the platform, while there is no real equivalent with a platform like Le Bon Coin, to name a few.
Influencers and micro-influencers, often very fashion-oriented, have also taken hold of the phenomenon. All you need is a link published in an Instagram story to her Vinted dressing room to easily sell off the superfluous pieces from her wardrobe.
What future for Vinted?
As for its business model, it is taking shape little by little, but without moving the lines for users. So how does the business make money? For example, when the user chooses to transact via the platform, a fee called Buyer Protection (5% of the item price +€0,70) is applied. “These fees cover an integrated payment and shipping system: we facilitate secure payment between two members, avoiding them having to exchange personal information and bank details between them,” says Vinted.
The company has also developed paid features for members to promote their ads, such as "bumps" that send an ad to the top of Vinted's feed and search results to give it more visibility. Finally, some minority income comes from advertising placements on the site and the application. With 700 employees, the company does not intend to diversify too much in its activities, which already offers clothing, jewelry and even books. Asked about the possibility of buying a car, renting a vacation home, or posting job offers on Vinted, like Le Bon Coin, the company replied in the negative. “Our goal is to continue to improve the customer experience around second-hand and our existing categories, mainly focused on clothing”, specifies its communications director.
The platform now has more than 45 million members worldwide, with Vinted operating in 15 countries. It was recently launched in Canada (May 2021) and Portugal (June 2021) and there are now 300 million items available on all European platforms. A final figure which also reflects a certain imbalance between supply and demand. “It sometimes takes months to sell a garment, even new, for a few euros,” admits Élodie.
Vinted is a platform for selling second-hand products
- Version : 21.43.0
- Downloads: 254
- Release date: 13/01/2022
- Author: Vinted
- License: Free license
- Categories: Shopping
- Operating system: Android, Online service All Internet browsers, iOS iPhone / iPad
- Online service All Internet browsers
- iOS iPhone / iPad