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Report: Resale market to more than double by 2026, US to lead the charge

By Huw Hughes


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Image: ThredUp distribution center

The global fashion resale market is expected to grow 127 percent by 2026, three times faster than the broader retail clothing sector, according to a new report.

That growth will be fueled by the US, where the second-hand market is expected to more than double to 82 billion dollars by 2026 - 16 times faster than the broader retail fashion market.

The US resale market recorded record growth in 2021, up 32 percent.

That’s according to a new study by resale platform ThredUp, conducted by third-party retail analytics firm GlobalData.

It comes as the ‘pre-loved’ fashion market continues to go from strength to strength, fueled by growing consumer and investor demand for more sustainable apparel alternatives.

The younger generation remains the most open to buying pre-loved fashion, with 62 percent of Gen Z and Millennials saying they look for an item second-hand before purchasing a new one.

The study also found that 58 percent of consumers say second-hand shopping has helped them in some way during a time of inflation. Meanwhile, 25 percent say they will consider buying more second-hand items if prices in apparel, footwear, and accessories continue to go up.

The rise of resale marketplaces

Another reason why people are buying more second-hand clothes is thanks to online marketplaces, with 70 percent of respondents saying it is easier now to shop for pre-loved products than it was five years ago.

In fact, online resale is the fastest sector of second-hand and is expected to grow by nearly four times by 2026.

“The last 10 years of resale were dominated by marketplaces, but brands and retailers are driving the next wave of second-hand,” said ThredUp co-founder and CEO James Reinhart.

High street retailers and storied fashion houses alike have stepped into resale in recent years. In the last few months alone, Hugo Boss, Ganni, Marks & Spencer, Lululemon, and Pacsun have all announced either the launch or expansion of their resale offerings.

ThredUp’s report found that 52 percent of retail executives say offering resale is becoming a ‘must’ for retailers, while 88 percent of retail executives who currently offer resale say it’s helping drive revenue.

Reinhart continued: “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.”

Second hand fashion
Sustainable Fashion