- The global secondhand goods market is expected to grow by 24% in 2022, according to a new ThredUp survey of 3,500 U.S. adult consumers and 50 fashion retailers conducted by GlobalData. The report estimates that the U.S. secondhand market will more than double by 2026, reaching $82 billion.
- Re-commerce companies, including The RealReal, Poshmark and ThredUp, are expected to comprise 18% of the clothing industry by 2031. Almost three-fourths of retail executives said they currently offer or are open to providing secondhand goods to their customers, an increase from 2020, the report said.
- Sixty-two percent of Gen Z and millennial consumers said they look for items secondhand before buying new. And almost half of Gen Z and millennial consumers (46%) consider the potential resale value of an item before purchasing it, per the report.
One of the primary reasons why consumers are now turning to used apparel is because they’re feeling the squeeze of inflation. According to the report, consumers have noticed higher prices for groceries, gas, restaurants, household bills and clothing. Nearly half (44%) of consumers overall said they are reducing their clothing spend, more than every other category except restaurants.
Secondhand goods are seen as a way people can stretch their dollar further. Fifty-eight percent of shoppers say that resale has helped them in some way during a time of inflation, per the survey, with a quarter of consumers considering buying more secondhand apparel if prices continue to rise.
In March, apparel inflation hit a 42-year record high of 6.8%, driven by increases in the cost of textiles, transportation and wages, according to Coresight Research.
Over the past few years, many retailers have pursued ways to get involved in the secondhand market, with brands either partnering with resale platforms or launching resale operations in-house. Both Target and Fabletics have tapped ThredUp to implement resale programs. Meanwhile, Urban Outfitters launched Nuuly Thrift, an online re-commerce marketplace, last August. Lululemon expanded its resale program nationwide last month.
“The last 10 years of resale were dominated by marketplaces, but brands and retailers are driving the next wave of secondhand,” James Reinhart, ThredUp CEO & co-founder, said in a statement. “We’re still in the very beginning of this trend, but the acceleration of resale adoption is a positive signal with enormous benefits for the planet."