Streetwear marketplace StockX moves into Canada with Toronto authentication centre

Tara Deschamps
·4 min read

TORONTO — Canadian fans of brands like Supreme, Bape and Kaws may soon find it quicker and easier to fill or empty their closet of trendy and hard-to-find goods.

StockX, the Detroit-based online marketplace and reseller of sneakers, streetwear, handbags and collectibles, is expanding its brick-and-mortar presence to Canada with its first authentication centre in the country.

The company chose Toronto for the centre because of the market’s enthusiasm and the demand it was seeing from users across the country, said StockX chief executive Scott Cutler.

“We've seen extraordinary growth in Canada, particularly from our sellers, which have increased almost 200 per cent in just the last year alone and Canada, from a customer point of view, is awesome and an extremely passionate community of sneaker and streetwear enthusiasts,” he said in an interview.

For those unacquainted with his company that has been valued at more than US$1 billion and marketed itself as the “stock market of thing,” it focuses on luxury, limited edition or small-run goods from brands coveted by the under-35 crowd.

For StockX users, rarer is better and money is often no object. That means instead of the china, stamps and coins their parents and grandparents collected, users of StockX clamour for Bearbrick figurines, FunkoPop toys, Air Jordan sneakers, Balenciaga purses and Rolex watches.

Users with such items to sell post them on the StockX website, allowing people to bid on them or buy them right away by agreeing to pay an amount previously determined by the seller.

StockX charges a three-per-cent fee for payment processing to all sellers and a transaction fee dependent on how much you use your account and the item you’re selling. Transaction fees can be as high as 9.5 per cent for sellers rarely using the platform and as low as eight per cent for those that make 100 sales or $25,000 in sales in a year.

Sellers pay $10 for shipping, while buyers fork over $19.99 to get their product to them. Buyers also cover all local, state, federal or international taxes, which are worked into prices when consumers shop, so they aren’t surprised when the bill arrives later.

Cutler hopes having an authentication centre in Toronto will translate to even more Canadians reaching deals at home and help cut down on hefty duties and taxes that can plague such sales when they cross the border to the U.S.

“Buyers will get a lower shipping fee, shorter shipping time and sellers enjoy reduced shipping costs and faster payouts,” he said.

In October alone, he said the Canadian market helped push Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Carbon shoes and items from rapper Travis Scott’s McDonalds and Fortnite collaborations to the top of StockX bestseller lists.

StockX’s expansion into the market comes as the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered mass layoffs, reductions in working hours and less expendable income for Canadians.

Many have dusted off items from their basement or parted ways with beloved treasures to pay bills or rent, boosting the resale market and fuelling tracking for online marketplaces like Kijiji and eBay.

Kijiji said a survey conducted by Université du Québec à Montréal and MBA Recherche said 82 per cent of Canadians participated in the second-hand economy in 2018, earning an average $961 from selling used items and $723 from buying them.

Their research valued the second-hand economy in Canada at $27.3 billion, which is roughly 1.23 per cent of the country's GDP.

With so much value, the market has also attracted more competitors encroaching on the business StockX has been building since 2016.

Quebec department store chain Simons has been selling second-hand luxury accessories and clothing in partnership with resale companies LXRandCO and VSP Consignment.

Then there are e-commerce options like Goat Group, Stadium Goods, Grailed, Bump and the Real Real, which are all following in StockX’s footsteps.

Some like the Goat Group and Stadium Goods have big backers too: Foot Locker and LVMH respectively.

Cutler, who previously ran eBay’s rival marketplace business, doesn’t seem to be worried.

“We're really confident in where we stand in the marketplace, but we also feel as though we are just the beginning of our opportunities because we're expanding around the world, we're expanding and other key markets,” he said.

“We're continuing to evolve the customer experience to stay in front of, quite frankly, any other marketplace that again is targeting the consumer.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 10, 2020.

Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version contained an incorrect spelling for LVMH.