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The Evolution and Future of Reselling

It’s no secret that reselling has become one of the hottest ways to make money. For some, this is a side hustle that brings a little extra cash in every month, while for others, it’s a full-time job. Between sneakers, vintage clothing, and collectibles, you can pretty much find every item under the sun available for resell (including hotels–hello, Hoken!).


But it wasn’t always this way. In fact, reselling didn’t begin until the middle of the 20th century, when hobbyists began taking an interest in trade cards. The history of the evolution of reselling is quite an interesting one. That’s why we’re breaking it down to show you how we got to where we are today and what we see for the future.

The Evolution of Reselling

Trading Cards

When you think of trading cards, you probably think of baseball or Pokemon. But these cards date all the way back to the 1600s. However, they didn’t really start picking up until the 1800s, when they were included in packs of cigarettes as a means of advertising. Though the printing of them winded down during WWI and WWII, it picked up again in the late 1940s.


From there, they quickly became the trading cards we know and love today–primarily focusing on sports. The original collectible started as a hobby for many but quickly became one of the hottest selling items worldwide. They became so popular that sites are now entirely dedicated to selling just trading cards. You can find everything from baseball, hockey, Marvel superheroes, Nintendo video game characters, and more. Although the market has definitely slowed down, we see a resurgence of interest every couple of years, and we don’t see that changing anytime soon.

The Rise of eBay

EBay is arguably still the biggest reselling platform out there. With everything from new clothes and the hottest tech to vintage clothing and antiques, it’s no surprise that the site is beloved by many. And because it was the first of its kind–founded in 1995–it quickly became a household name.


The internet was a game-changer for resellers, and eBay gave people from all over the world the ability to expand their markets exponentially and enable resale at a much larger scale. In June 1996 (less than a year after being created), there was already $7.2 million worth of goods sold. By the second half of 1997, a millionth item was sold. Needless to say, the site picked up steam extremely quickly. Now the company is worth over $22 billion.

Camping for iPhones

Now that there are over 1.5 billion active iPhone users worldwide, it’s not hard to see why camping out for iPhones became so popular when the phone first came out. It’s safe to say that Apple could’ve never guessed that their phones would create such a buzz, and keeping up with the initial demand was pretty much impossible. But it didn’t matter to them because people proved that they were doing whatever needed to be done to get their hands on one of the hottest pieces of technology.


Resellers began seeing this as an arbitrage opportunity. If they could get their hands on multiple phones, why not sell them to those who weren’t so lucky? Although Apple has since increased the supply to match the demand, this era shifted the way people got their hands on inventory to resell–which we now see with sneakers, but we’ll get to that in a second.

Pawn Stars and Storage Wars

People are often influenced by the media, so when Pawn Stars (first aired in 2009) and Storage Wars ( first aired in 2010) began, it’s no surprise that people became obsessed with the ideas of flipping and reselling. Both shows showcase sales that, oftentimes seem like a dud, bring resellers hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. This idea of the element of surprise tied in with large profits brought in millions of viewers and put reselling front and center in mainstream culture.


If you’ve ever tried purchasing a pair of exclusive sneakers, you may be familiar with just how hard it can be to snag a pair. Thanks to Michael Jordan and the creation of Air Jordans, we’ve now seen multiple big-name brands create limited-edition lines. And if you’re not on the site hours before they go live, chances are you won’t get a pair. The resellers will probably get there first.


The significant surge in interest between 2010 and 2020 created a world where “drops” are culturally accepted–even sought after. The first come, first serve market has only made the sneakers that much more appealing to many, creating a worldwide sneaker market valued at almost $100 billion. What began on eBay has quickly spread to sites like Grailed, StockX, and KLEKT. The combination of fashion and profits spread, with resellers picking up vintage clothing on top of the footwear. And with more and more gen-z’s and millennials opting for pre-worn clothing, it doesn’t seem like this trend is going anywhere.


We’ve seen trading cards, auction platforms, and reselling everything from tech to clothing. So what’s next in the reselling world? Hotels. Thanks to sites like Hoken, you can now merge experiences with profitability. And the best part? You don’t have to worry about holding inventory, shipping costs, or verification concerns. Book a hotel at a low price (especially in big cities during large events) and sell it for a bigger profit if you can no longer attend or you just want a little extra cash.

Ready To Start Reselling?

Looking to make a little extra income or make the most out of that vacation you can no longer take? You don’t need to spend hours finding sneakers or trading cards. Instead, focus on the future of reselling–hotels. And with Hoken, it requires very little effort to get started anytime you want. Let us help you buy and sell your hotel rooms by signing up today!


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