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Global Secondhand Market Projected to Hit $218 Billion by 2026, ThredUp Finds

The global secondhand market, which includes resale and traditional thrifting, is projected to be worth $218 billion by 2026, representing a 127% surge in growth over the next four years.

That’s according to ThredUp’s 2022 Resale Report, released in partnership with GlobalData, which measures the state of the global resale industry. Within the U.S., the secondhand market is expected to more than double by 2026, hitting $82 billion. Overall, resale is expected to grow 16x faster than the retail clothing sector in the U.S. by 2026.

ThredUp, a leading resale platform, raised $168 million in its initial public offering last March, and earned a valuation of about $1.3 billion. In July, ThredUp announced plans to acquire Remix Global AD, a major European fashion resale site, marking the start of its commitment to international expansion in Europe.

This 10th annual study of the state of the resale industry from ThredUp also analyzed how rising consumer prices due to inflation have spurred more consumers to turn to secondhand options when it comes to apparel and accessories.

“When the world is uncertain, value is always in style,” explained ThredUp president Anthony Marino, explaining why 2022 is expected to be the year with the most resale growth through 2026.

Consumer prices rose by 8.3% in April compared to a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly report. This number was down from the 8.5% growth in March, which represented the highest inflation rate since the 12-month period ending in December 1981, but was up from the 7.9% in February.

In the report, ThredUp cited a GlobalData pulse survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted in April that found that 44% of consumers said they were cutting back on apparel purchases. 80% of consumers said that they are buying the same amount or more secondhand apparel items and 25% said they would consider buying even more apparel items secondhand if prices keep rising.

Notably, ThredUp also highlighted the growing trend of traditional retailers expanded their resale capabilities. Almost three in four retail executives surveyed by GlobalData in another study cited by ThredUp said they currently have or are open to offering secondhand options to their consumers.

“The next wave of resale is really being powered by brands and retailers,” Marino said.

ThredUp has been an active facilitator in the realm of bridging retail and resale. In 2021 alone, ThredUp oversaw 30 partnerships with retailers that utilized its resale-as-a-service program, though Marino said he expects this number to be at 40 by the end of 2022. ThredUp currently powers resale for Crocs, Walmart, Madewell, Vera Bradley, PacSun, Adidas and more brands.

Other third party resale companies, such as Trove, provide similar services to major retailers as well. As Marino pointed out, there are a multitude of reasons for a brand to facilitate the resale of its own products.

“It’s really an opportunity to drive more revenue by having a product that the customer wants,” Marino said. “The values is there, the sustainability is there. And brands that get into resale also signal to their customers that their products are good enough to sell used.”

GlobalData also found that 88% of retail executives who offer resale programs said that it has helped drive revenue.

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