Book a free online introduction with our circularity & sustainability experts!
Book a meeting Here

Report Crunch: Resale on the rise (ThredUp, 2024)

May 3, 2024

The global secondhand apparel market is on the brink of substantial growth, expected to hit $350 billion by 2028 and surpassing the growth rate of the overall apparel market by threefold. Europe holds a significant portion of the market.

Demand for pre-owned clothing increases

Secondhand, pre-loved, and vintage apparel markets are steadily gaining prominence, with over half of consumers (53%) opting for secondhand apparel in 2023. Two in five clothing items purchased last year were pre-owned, accounting for nearly half of consumers' apparel budget, mostly spent online (63%). Direct brand shopping has emerged as a preferred choice, offering convenience in comparing items and curated, consistent styles.

Secondhand makes a great deal

The main reason consumers are going secondhand is value-seeking behavior. Thrifted pieces are usually a good (value for money) deal. In an increasingly expensive world, cost consciousness is predicted to increase as well; in 2024, consumers plan to purchase 7% less apparel at full price and to buy more secondhand (better deals). Other reasons to choose secondhand are finding unique items, being able to afford higher-end brands, and the obvious – it’s better for the planet!

There are different types of thrifters

Across generations, thrifters exhibit diverse shopping habits and motivations. Digitally Savvy Gen Z (Ages 18-26) gravitate towards online secondhand shopping, particularly through livestream platforms, to showcase their unique personal style. Meanwhile, Eco-Conscious Millennials (Ages 27-42) prioritize family needs and affordability, favoring online platforms, especially managed marketplaces. In contrast, In-Store Treasure Hunter Gen X (Ages 43-58) prefers the tactile experience of brick-and-mortar stores, hunting for high-end brands at bargain prices. Lastly, Experienced Thrift Enthusiast Baby Boomers and Silent Generation (Ages 59+) find joy in the in-person thrift hunt, with 82% preferring physical stores for the excitement and better deals they offer.

Branded resale is on the rise

"2023 saw a surge in brands launching resale programs, spanning various market segments, including H&M and Kate Spade. 74% of execs are considering them for the future. Why? Resale is a gateway to (new) shoppers’ hearts, fostering market share and revenue growth. They care increasingly about sustainability and prefer shopping secondhand alongside new. The biggest challenge for brands offering resale? Collecting enough inventory of pre-owned product. Diluting the brand’s product or reputation has become less of a concern.

Best in class

Based on ThredUp’s evaluation of 55K+ brands, frontrunners in resale include: Lululemon Athletica, Patagonia, Vuori, Reformation, Free People, Zara, Johnny Was, Anthropologie and newcomers, Sézane, SKIMS and Dr. Martens. Among Rising stars are Aritzia, SPANX, Outdoor Voices, Rag & Bone and Mango.

About the report

ThredUp’s annual Resale Report was compiled with third-party retail analytics firm GlobalData, incorporating consumer surveys, retailer tracking, official public data, data sharing, store observation, and secondary sources. Moreover, in December 2023, they surveyed 3,654 American adults and the top 50 U.S. fashion retailers and brands to understand behaviors and preferences. The report also leverages data from ThredUp’s Recommerce 100 and internal ThredUp customer and brand performance data.

The original report, published March 2024, can be found here

Book a free online introduction with a fashion circularity and sustainability expert

Learn more about circular fashion production!

Explore solutions for creating sustainable fashion collections.