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Global secondhand market to reach 350 billion dollars by 2027, according to ThredUp

By Rachel Douglass


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ThredUp's 'Clean Out' programma. Image: ThredUp

Resale platform and tech provider ThredUp has published its 11th annual Resale Report which looks to offer a comprehensive measure of the global and US-focused secondhand market.

Next to new insights about the market’s growth and consumer shopping behaviour, the report also offers an overview of forward-looking projections for the coming year.

In a release linked to the report, James Reinhart, ThredUp’s CEO, said that this edition of the report had some of the company’s “most inspiring findings” since it began in 2013.

He continued: “Resale is starting to blossom globally, with many of the largest retailers in the world adopting more circular business models; value continues to be a key driver that motivates consumers to think secondhand first; and at the same time, global climate issues have increased awareness of resale’s potential to reduce fashion’s impact on the environment.”

One of the top findings was that the global secondhand market is set to nearly double by 2027, reaching 350 billion dollars, with the US market contributing to 70 billion dollars of this.

In the US, ThredUp said online resale was the fastest growing sector of secondhand, with it expected to grow by a further 21 percent annually on average over the next five years.

Off-price retailers hold largest market share

Consumers in this region were found to be adopting this shopping behaviour based on economic uncertainty, inflation and value, with 37 percent said to have spent a higher proportion of their apparel budget on pre-loved clothing last year.

For retailers, 86 percent of executives reported that customers were already participating in resale, triggering a 224 percent increase in brands launching dedicated resale offerings in 2022.

For many, resale is a strategic business initiative, with the majority launching such a feature in order to generate positive ROI and satisfy investor demands around ESG.

In terms of market share, for 2023, off-price retailers like TJ Maxx hold the largest portion, followed by secondhand platforms like ThredUp or goodwill stores, direct-to-consumer retailers and mid-price specialty brands.

Speaking on the results of the report, Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData, a third-party retail firm that conducted the report, said: “What's particularly striking this year is new detail around how much younger generations are expected to account for future growth as their purchasing power increases.

“Traditional retailers are responding to this demand by entering resale and are really the ones driving the market forward, and we expect increased adoption in retail as secondhand becomes more of a lifestyle for consumers."