Well, we all knew the fast fashion bubble had to pop some time. It looks like that time may be coming pretty soon, with the next biggest thing in the world of fashion retail set to be resale. Resale — otherwise known as when a customer purchases used goods — is set to surpass buying new as the major shopping trend within the next 10 years.
Major online resale store, Thredup, just released their annual report and it contains revealing insights about the future of retail fashion. Chief among them, that resale is on track to be worth $41 billion USD in the next four years, almost half of which looks set to consist of the clothing market, and is majorly outpacing fast fashion in terms of year-on-year growth.
It looks like this is mostly due to the shopping habits of millennials. The report paints a somewhat contradictory picture, though. On the one hand, millennials may be partly responsible for the very climate we have at the moment, apparently wearing items just a handful of times before letting them go. But over three quarters also said they’d prefer to purchase from environmentally-friendly brands, and would be incentivised to shop resale in order to be more green. Plus, as we all know millennials aren’t known to be exactly known to be affluent, and sometimes beautifully, ethically and sustainably made pieces are just not affordable first-hand, no matter how much you want to save the planet. Resale, however, won’t break the bank and can fill that gap in your closet with a little something new. Last year a whopping 40 per cent of under-25s bought resale, which is encouraging.
With all this in mind, it helps explain the accelerating rate of resale growth, which is growing 49 per cent year-on-year, as opposed to general retail, growing at a rate of just 2 per cent year-on-year. Take that in. That’s a LOT more growth.
And you’ve got brands such as Thredup, Rebag, Poshmark, and Rent the Runway to thank for this gradual but very clear shift. Established to help reconcile the desire for the latest trends, as well as to be more environmentally conscious, they’re really helping change the entire retail game – in fact, Thredup predicts resale retailers (mind the tongue twister – we’ll just call them resalers) will be responsible for one third of our closets by 2027.
If last year’s numbers are anything to go by, that day may come even sooner. Last year, resalers boasted a 6 per cent share of the market, just behind the 9 per cent of fashion giants such as Forever 21, Zara, H&M, and the other usual culprits. So if these trends continue, within 10 years, it’ll be resale 11 per cent, and fast fashion 10 per cent. We call that a win for our closets — and the planet, too.