According to ThredUP CEO and co-founder James Reinhart, one in three women shopped secondhand last year. The resale market is growing 24 times faster than traditional apparel retail – resale will see 15% annual growth by 2022 (growing to $41 billion!), whereas retail apparel will see 2% annual growth.
Source: ThredUP 2018 Resale Report
We’ve explored 3 potential reasons for the growth of the resale market.
The ThredUp report notes that many shoppers began buying used clothing for the first time during the recession in 2008, but even as the economy returned to normal, retailers noticed that shoppers were inclined to buy secondhand out of a sense of environmentalism.
Why? The clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world, surpassed only by petroleum. Secondhand shoppers have a chance to change this statistic.
As Emily Farra, Fashion Editor at Vogue explains, “Picking up and disposing of brand-new clothes all the time drives demand for nonstop manufacturing, which contributes to the fashion industry’s incredible waste. When you buy something old and previously-loved, you’re extending its lifespan and reducing its carbon footprint.” ThredUP estimates that buying a used garment extends its life on average by 2.2 years which reduces carbon, waste, and water footprints by 73%.
It is no secret that second hand stores often offer deep discounts that appeal to bargain hunters. ThredUP confirmed that shoppers spend less on resale than off-price, but get more overall retail value. Thrifting often brings luxury brands within reach for bargain shoppers; indeed, 66% of consumers said they use thrift to buy better brands they would never otherwise pay full price for.
Notably, the report found that switching to thrifting for an entire year could save a buyer an average of $2,420.
Experiential & Community Oriented
Delila Hailechristos, the owner of ReLove, a vintage clothing store in San Francisco, believes that secondhand shoppers are not coming to her store just for clothing; they are seeking an experience. She notes, “These [secondhand shops] feel really intimate because you’re browsing things that have been worn before. It’s not corporate; it’s not homogenous. It’s a lot more, for lack of a better word, community-based. Somebody has chosen something and put it on a rack for you to discover. That’s a very different experience than something that’s merchandised to make you feel like you need it.”