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Fashion brands dive into secondhand clothing market, resale goes from "Why" to "How"

Fashion brands dive into secondhand clothing market resale goes


The secondhand clothing market is exploding, and fashion brands are scrambling to get on board. A new report by Thredup predicts the global secondhand apparel market will balloon to a staggering $350 billion by 2028, growing at a rate of 12% per year. This is a gold rush for brands, which are shifting their focus from "why" they should embrace resale to "how" they can integrate it into their business model.

The secondhand market is outpacing traditional retail by a wide margin. In 2023 alone, the global secondhand market grew 18% compared to a measly 6% for overall apparel sales. In the US, secondhand sales are expected to reach a whopping $73 billion by 2028. This trend is being driven by a younger generation comfortable with online shopping – 63% of secondhand purchases in 2023 were made online, with Gen Z and Millennials leading the charge.

Why the Shift?

But here's the real kicker for brands: They don't have to cede control to established resale platforms. Thredup reports a 30% year-over-year growth in branded resale programs. Levi's, Kate Spade, J.Crew, and even Oscar de la Renta are just a few examples of brands launching their own initiatives. These programs offer incentives for customers to both sell and buy pre-loved items, creating a closed loop that benefits both the brand and the environment.

The message for brands is clear: The secondhand market is a force to be reckoned with. By embracing resale, brands can tap into a growing customer base, boost their sustainability credentials, and secure a profitable slice of this booming market.

Sustainability and revenue boost

Sustainability is a major driver, but there's more to the story. Resale programs can attract new customers, generate additional revenue streams, and even boost brand loyalty. Concerns about cannibalizing sales of new items are fading as brands recognize that their customers are already shopping secondhand. The key to success lies in creating a seamless resale experience that complements, not competes with, new product offerings.

Top Resale Performers

The report also unveils list of top brands in resale for 2023, based on sales volume and sell-through rates on their platform. Here are the frontrunners:





Free People


Johnny Was




Rising Stars to Watch

The list also identified a group of "rising stars" in resale, showcasing brands experiencing significant growth in listed items and sales:



Outdoor Voices

Rag & Bone

Liverpool Los Angeles


Show Me Your Mumu


J. McLaughlin

Nic + Zoe



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