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NEW YORK – A new report claims the global second-hand apparel market will nearly double by 2027, hitting US$350bn. The 2023 annual resale report was released by thredUP, a US based online resale platform. The report also claims more than one-third of retailers who undertook the survey say that if resale proves successful they will cut production of new products. However, it is not clear from the report how many fast fashion brands plan to adopt such a strategy.

The 11th annual study by thredUP is claimed to be the most comprehensive measure of the second-hand market globally and in the US, and includes forward-looking projections through 2032. It also reveals new insights about key factors driving market growth, including consumer shopping behaviour amid economic uncertainty and inflation, and younger generations’ attitudes towards resale.

The report also examines why retailers are adopting resale at an accelerated rate, based on surveys of US consumers over the age of 18 and US fashion retailers and brands. In addition, the report includes the top 20 most popular brands in resale.

Secondhand continues to take hold globally, while in the US, online resale is driving the growth. The report suggests the US second-hand market is expected to reach US$70bn by 2027.

Online resale is the fastest-growing sector of the US second-hand market, expected to grow 21 per cent annually on average over the next 5 years, reaching US$38bn by 2027.

In terms of consumer trends, the report suggests value is the number one driver influencing purchasing decisions. The report found 52 per cent of consumers shopped second-hand apparel in 2022. 1 in 3 apparel items bought in the last 12 months was second-hand, and 2 in 5 items in Gen Z’s closet are second-hand.

37 per cent of consumers spent a higher proportion of their apparel budget on second-hand last year. Of those, 63 per cent increased their spend in response to inflation.

A key claimed benefit of shopping second-hand is that it has a positive environmental impact with many claiming resale has the potential to cut new clothing production. Research by Green Story Inc recently claimed buying and wearing second-hand clothing instead of new reduces carbon emissions by an average of 25 per cent.

This new research estimates US consumers bought 1.4 billion second-hand apparel items in 2022 that they normally would have bought new, up 40 per cent from 2021.


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