Resale merchandise is on the rise. Thrift clothing has been replacing regular apparel in consumers’ closets, and the trend is set to continue and even double the market value in only five years. According to an Annual Resale Report from thredUP, the secondhand market is expected to reach $51 billion in five years.
The report from thredUP contains research and data from GlobalData, a third-party retail analytics firm. GlobalData conducted a January 2019 survey of 2,000 American women over the age of 18, asking specific questions about their behaviors and preferences for used merchandise.
Now, there are more secondhand shoppers than ever before. In 2018, 64% of women either bought or are now willing to buy second hand products, which is a pretty big jump from only 45% of women in 2016, according to the report.
Used Clothing Has Its Benefits
Resale has grown 21x faster than the new-product retail apparel market over the past three years, according to the report. The reasons more consumers are opting for used clothing is not only because the prices are a lot cheaper than buying something new, it’s also because pre-worn apparel is environmentally friendly and less wasteful to buy.
Consumers are expecting ethical fashion more than ever, and this includes both new and used accessories. The percentage of shoppers who prefer to buy from environmentally friendly brands has gone from 57% in 2013 to 72% in 2018, according to the report. The good news is we live in an era where it’s super easy to buy second hand, which is just as environmentally friendly as buying new sustainable merchandise.
Everyone is Satisfied
Second hand shopping attracts all ages, but Millennials and Gen Z are driving the growth of the used market. According to the report, more than 1 in 3 Gen Z’ers will buy second hand in 2019, and this includes clothing, footwear and accessories. This young age group is also the fastest at adopting used apparel than the other older generational groups.
The Instagram generation (Gen Z) is a huge driver for the second-hand market. It allows for frequent turnover in consumers’ wardrobes, so they can be seen in new, fashionable styles constantly and gain more of a following on the social media site.
“Resale offers the wardrobe-rotating fun of fast fashion without the guilt or waste. By driving preferences away from disposable fashion towards higher-quality clothes, reuse is a boon for our personal style and the planet,” says Elizabeth Cline, author of the Conscious Closet.
According to the thredUP report, the top five motivators for resale are revenue boost, sustainability, customer loyalty, new customers and an increase in store traffic. In fact, many retailers and start-up companies are putting more of a focus on second hand merchandise because of the growing popularity of this category.
Companies such as AirBnB®, IKEA® and Rent the Runway® are designing new products for secondary markets. IKEA® announced plans to offer furniture rentals and certain brands are creating clothing to be exclusively sold on Rent the Runway®. If you don’t offer used merchandise at your booth, now might be a good time to start looking into it.