Retail Channels

US resale market to reach $70B by 2027

A new report from thredUP says online resale will grow at 20%, pacing the growth of the global secondhand market.

assorted clothes hanged on clothes hanger
Photo by Megan Lee on Unsplash

New projections are showing continued growth for the worldwide resale market, as Gen Z increasingly embraces secondhand shopping.

A new report from thredUP and GlobalData shared the following about the resale market:

The global secondhand market is expected to double by 2027, reaching $350 billion.

The U.S. secondhand market is expected to reach $70 billion by 2027.

Online resale is expected to grow 21% annually over the next five years, reaching $38 billion by 2027. It's the fastest growing resale segment.

Here's a look at the key factors behind resale's growth:

​What’s driving the growth?

Apparel: From thrift to consignment, secondhand clothing has long been sought by consumers. A new generation of resale is shifting shopping online, but demand to mine old threads for new looks remains high – and potentially more sought-after than ever. According to the report, 52% of consumers shopped secondhand apparel in 2022. Meanwhile, one in three apparel items purchased in the last year were secondhand, while two in five items in the closets of Gen Zers are secondhand.

Price savings: At a time of 40-year-high inflation, consumers are also seeking to stretch dollars, and turning to resale to do so. Value was the top motivator among consumers surveyed. In all, 37% of consumers spent a higher proportion of their apparel budget via secondhand, and 63% of those said inflation was the reason for increasing spend.

Secondhand first: A new generation of consumers is seeking out resale as a primary option. According to the report, 82% of Gen Z eyes the resale value of apparel before buying it, while 64% indicated that they look for an item secondhand, before opting for a new item.

secondhand market share

(Courtesy of thredUP)

​Environmental imperative

At a time when consumers are seeking to reduce carbon footprints and remain environmentally conscious, resale offers an option to keep an item that would’ve gone to waste in use, rather than buying a new item. Demand for these circular approaches is only growing. The share of consumers who bought a secondhand apparel item that they normally would have purchased new increased by 40% in 2022, to 1.4 billion items.

branded resale chart

(Courtesy of thredUP)

​The retailer view

Retailers are also looking to make resale part of their operations. One-third said that if resale proved successful, they would cut production of new products. To grow resale, brands are launching their own dedicated programs that include trade-ins, incentives and dedicated ecommerce sites for resale items of their products.

In all, 88 brands launched dedicated resale programs in 2022. That’s a 244% increase from 2021. The report states that 30% of the top 20 brands are offering dedicated resale. Torrid, lululemon, Madewell and Zara remain some of the most popular brands.

They’re responding to demand. The number of retail executives who said their customers are already participating in resale was up 8 points from 2021, to 86%.

It underscores that, increasingly, executives are viewing resale as a must. The survey found that the share of retail executives who say offering resale options is becoming “table stakes” rose six points over 2021, to 58%.

"What's particularly striking this year is new detail around how much younger generations are expected to account for future growth as their purchasing power increases,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData, in a statement. “Traditional retailers are responding to this demand by entering resale and are really the ones driving the market forward, and we expect increased adoption in retail as secondhand becomes more of a lifestyle for consumers."

Subscribe to The Current Newsletter

Trending in Retail Channels


US imports expected to fall 22% in first half of 2023: NRF

Labor disputes on the West Coast could cause further disruption heading into peak season.

aerial view of boat on water
Photo by Venti Views on Unsplash

When the first half of 2023 is complete, imports are expected to dip 22% below last year.

That’s according to new data from the Global Port Tracker, which is compiled monthly by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

Keep reading...Show less

Latest from Retail Channels