ThredUp has released its annual Resale Report projecting that the fashion resale market will grow eleven times faster than retail over the next five years, pushing the total secondhand market value to $77 billion by 2025.

The research behind the report comes from ThredUp’s own data and from analytics company GlobalData, which provided consumer and market analyses and conducted a dedicated survey of 3,500 consumers on their behavior and attitudes towards secondhand shopping. The report splits secondhand into the resale market and the traditional thrifting and donation market, which currently has a larger market share.

According to ThredUp, the secondhand market will reach $36 billion in 2021. Resale will account for $15 billion of that total, growing 67% from $9 billion in 2020. The split between resale and traditional thrifting and donation will have shifted by 2025 with resale accounting for $47 billion of the projected $77 billion.

The report supports these growth projections with data showing:

  • 118.9 million potential future sellers, based on research showing that 76% of people who have never resold anything are open to trying. 
  • There are 9 billion items of clothing in consumers’ closets that are never worn.
  • 42% of consumers plan to spend more on secondhand than any other category, including luxury and fast fashion, over the next 5 years. When looking at millennial and GenZ consumers, that rises to 53%. 
  • 40% of current thrifters are replacing fast fashion purchases with secondhand.
  • 45% of millennials and GenZ saying they refuse to buy from non-sustainable brands and retailers.

Source: GlobalData’s 2021 resale consumer survey

In the accompanying press release Neil Saunders, the managing director of GlobalData, said “As we emerge from the pandemic, the resale market is stronger than ever. Consumers are refreshing their closets and turning to resale as a way to sustainably discard garments and acquire new ones. Retailers recognize this shift, which is why so many of them are now looking to get into resale. These trends will make resale the most dynamic and fast-paced part of the apparel market over the next decade.”

A GlobalData survey of 50 U.S. fashion retailers found:

  • One-third of retail executives surveyed said resale is “becoming table stakes for retailers.”
  • 60% either currently offer or would be open to offering secondhand items to their consumers.
  • 60% say that their resale strategy is to partner with an existing resale business.

Although ThredUp has an incentive to project a growing and healthy market, the data collected does show an influential combination of post-pandemic shopping habits and the general attitude of GenZ and millennial consumers. If ThredUp’s predictions are correct, by 2030 the secondhand market will reach $84 billion, over twice the size of fast fashion retail at $40 billion.

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