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LONDON – The apparel resale market will hit US$20bn by 2022, according to new research, as a new generation of thrifty, environmentally conscious consumers embrace second hand clothing. The research claims second hand clothing will have captured a third of the total apparel market by 2027, while apparel as a category will represent almost half the total ‘resale’ pie within four years.

The report was produced by resale wholesaler, ThredUp and, as such, must be taken with an air of caution. However, its findings make for compelling reading.

The report points out some remarkable figures. It is claimed 44 million women shopped for second hand clothing in 2017, compared to 35 million the previous year. The report also says 11 per cent of clothing items in closets were secondhand in 2011 but this figure will hit 40 per cent in 2022.

The report points says ‘resale disruptors’ — essentially online consignment sites — will take up a third of closets by 2027 and are growing nearly 24 times faster than retail as a whole. The three leading resale disruptors are said to be Thredup, The RealReal and Poshmark, which have raised US$130 million, US$173 million and US$153 million in funding to date, respectively. Additional players include Rebag, Depop, Tradesy and Grailed.

Last year Depop, ThredUp, and The RealReal all opened their first brick-and-mortar stores.

Thred-Up co-founder and CEO James Reinhart says: “I often get asked if resale as a category has hit the mainstream. People want to know if it’s had its breakout moment yet. Has it “arrived”? The answer is…sort of. Let me explain.

”The truth is more people are shopping secondhand than ever before. In fact, one in three women shopped secondhand last year. Not just at thredUP or in apparel, but across all categories, consumers are shopping smarter and thinking secondhand first. And the number of people who are trying secondhand for the first time is rapidly increasing. 70 per cent of new customers who shopped on thredUP were first-time resale shoppers.”

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