How Depop drove organic growth with a simple marketing flywheel

Gen Z favourite Depop is spawning a generation of bedroom entrepreneurs. Here’s how the app drawns millions of young people by word of mouth.

Robi O'Cleirigh
Content Manager @ Blueprint

Everyday 140,000 items are listed on digital clothing flea market Depop. In recent years the app has grown its revenue by 100% YoY, predominantly driven by the organic expansion of its user base.

Even more striking is Depop’s deep penetration within one particular demographic - 90% of its 18 million users are under 25. In the UK, where the company is based, ⅓ of people aged 15 to 24 are registered with the app.  

Impressive stuff, but what’s driving this growth? Well, Depop is partly benefitting from being in the right place at the right time. It's tapping into trends that legacy retailers have failed to take notice of - notably concerns around sustainability and the rise of social selling. 

Depop have also leveraged phenomena that they have in part helped to create. The emergence of the bedroom entrepreneur, and the empowerment of individuals over brands to define what’s ‘cool’, are heavily entwined with the DNA of the company. 

"Before long millennials & Gen Z started opening their wardrobes, became the real builders of the community." Simon Beckerman, founder of Depop

But it’s not all just good timing and zeitgeist surfing, however. Depop drive their own organic growth with a simple but powerful marketing flywheel. It goes like this: 

Marketing outreach to bring sellers to the platform within a framework of existing community values. Educate these sellers to create posts and listings. Encourage them to share that content outside of the platform to attract new users. Turn these new users into buyers by marketing and community building efforts. More buyers attract more sellers, and the cycle continues. 

Depop's marketing flywheel has brought 18 million highly engaged users to the platform

This kind of growth is self sustaining and much stickier. The average user opens the app ‘several times a day’, whilst 'Depopers' collectively message & follow each other upwards of 85 million times a month

With each turn of the wheel the community experience becomes richer for both buyers and sellers. Understanding this process of acquisition also allows Depop to identify inefficiencies in the cycle, and rectify them accordingly. 

The result is a high organic growth company that’s getting a digital native generation hooked on thrifting. 

This post was based on an interview with Depop founder Simon Beckerman featured in ep #13 of the Work In Progress podcast

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