The Average Woman Doesn’t Wear 60 Percent of What’s In Her Closet & Here’s What that Means for Retail

It’s no secret: Retail is having a tough go.

With layoffs, bankruptcies and store closures trending more than the clothes, shoes and accessories that retailers are trying to push, the light at the end of the tunnel is becoming more elusive.

Nevertheless, the latest report by online reseller ThredUp is providing new insight into the future of fashion. And, according to the company, many signs point to the resale market.

The firm’s data shows that online resale segment alone is growing five times as fast as retail’s other booming category: off-price. Meanwhile, the apparel segment valued at $18 billion — and projected to hit $33 billion by 2021 — is experiencing explosive growth both online and offline.

What’s more, the footwear category is a major contributor to the resale market boom. Footwear is the fastest-selling category for resale, according to the study, and fashion footwear maker Steve Madden is the most sought-after brand.

Meanwhile, the active wear category — a major footwear complement — is the fastest-growing category in the secondhand industry, driven by trend-leader Lululemon Athletica Inc.

resale fashion trends thredup
Insights from ThredUp’s report.
CREDIT: Courtesy of ThredUp.

Consistent with the success of up-and-coming fashion industry disruptor Rent the Runway, ThredUp’s report found that today’s consumer prefers access to designer brands and products over ownership.

“[Consumers] are opting for continuously revolving closets [and looking to] cut the clutter,” the researchers said.

In fact, ThredUp’s data shows that the average woman doesn’t wear 60 percent of her closet, making ownership a shrinking priority.

And, as consumers’ interest in experiential spending heightens, the thrill of snagging a good bargain — a concept off-price sellers TJ Maxx and Marshalls have banked on for years — is also checking off a critical box. (ThredUp and other thrift sites and stores are perhaps one of few threats to the off-price channel these days.)

As a plethora of data has recently shown, today’s shoppers are increasingly price conscious. According to ThredUp, 94 percent of women say they rarely buy clothing full price, and 40 percent of women wouldn’t even enter a store if a significant number of items weren’t discounted.


*ThredUp compiled its data using a variety of internal and external sources including its own retail survey, an Intelligence Group report that tracked the shopping habits of 1,300 people and a Facebook poll.

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