Resale Is Set to Surpass Fast Fashion in 10 Years, Says New Report

Move over, fast fashion — a new soon-to-be industry leader is gaining ground.

A new report released by online thrift store ThredUp has revealed that the resale market has reached $20 billion, with clothing, shoes and accessories representing the largest category at 49 percent. That number is expected to increase to $41 billion by 2022 as resale disruptors like ThredUp, The RealReal and Depop — all of which have opened their first brick-and-mortar stores within the last year — drive growth faster than traditional and off-price retailers.

“The modern consumer now has a choice between shopping traditional retail or trying new, innovative business models. New apparel experiences and brands are emerging at record rates to replace old ones,” ThredUp CEO and co-founder James Reinhart said. “There is a powerful transformation of the modern closet happening, and resale is a key driver.”

According to the survey, 1 in 3 women shopped secondhand last year, growing to 44 million in 2017, compared with 35 million in 2016. Millennials choose resale more than any other age group under 45 — not only so they could procure deeper discounts but also to eliminate waste. (In 2017, ThredUp recycled 340,000 fast-fashion items.)

In 2007, resale accounted for only 3 percent of women’s closets, compared with fast fashion’s 7 percent, off-price retailers’ 10 percent and department stores’ 23 percent. That figure has since risen to 6 percent, with resale forecasted to surpass fast fashion 11 to 10 percent, respectively, in the next decade, thanks to consumers who are rethinking the impact of apparel on the environment. Resale is even reported to be growing nine times faster than legacy retailers as shoppers spend less on thrift items but may feel that they get more overall retail value.

“When you get that perfectly curated assortment from Stitch Fix, or subscribe to Rent the Runway’s everyday service, or find that killer handbag on ThredUp, you never could have afforded new, you start realizing how much your preferences and behavior is changing,” Reinhart said.

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