Why resale markets are growing fast

The resale market is set to outgrow fast fashion with 4 factors leading to its explosive growth.

The resale market is growing faster than ever. Here’s why retailers should pay attention

The resale market is poised to outgrow fast fashion. Here are 4 factors leading to its explosive growth.

The secondhand market is booming

The consumer’s definition of new is changing. Thanks to awareness of the exploitative nature of fast fashion, conscious customers are now flocking to the resale markets, and businesses are following suit.

According to estimates, the resale market is growing 11 times faster than traditional retail. The secondhand market is predicted to be worth $84 billion by 2030, more than $44 billion compared to fast fashion1.

Driving this demand is the conscious consumer who values sustainability and favours a circular economy where reusing is the activity of the day.

How do resale markets work?

Luxury and high street retailers like Levi's2 and ASOS3 use online platforms to offer secondhand or preloved clothes to their customers.

For example, Levi’s offers a resale of its clothes via its site Levi’s Secondhand. Customers can make a trade-in appointment with a stylist and receive a gift card for the value of their trade-in clothes.

Other brands have taken a more altruistic approach. They donate the clothes to charities on behalf of customers. Whichever way you look at it, the resale market is set to become a normal channel for retailers and consumers.

Some factors have contributed to the meteoric rise of the resale market in recent times.

Rise of the conscious consumer

As consumers become more aware of mindless consumption and how this affects their environment and the world, they're driven by the need to change what and how much they buy, and who they buy it from.

Conscious consumption has boosted the circular economy where people are choosing to reduce, reuse and share resources. They are choosing greener products with less packaging and locally made food and products with a low carbon footprint.

Access to resale platforms

The digital buyer looks online for inspiration and new brands to try. Access to the internet and social media exploded during the pandemic, as more people around the world went online in search of products.

As consumers become more mindful about sustainability, they’re searching for secondhand clothes instead of fast fashion. Resale platforms like Tradera4, Facebook5 marketplace or retailer-acquired resale platforms have made it easier for consumers to buy and sell secondhand clothes.

Retailers are also designing omnichannel shopping experiences, so customers can shop easily online, app, in-store and on social media.

Supply chain weaknesses

Unexpected events can cause massive shocks to supply chains preventing the easy flow of goods across borders, leading to shortages and bottlenecks in supply.

Businesses can struggle to meet demand, forcing them to source locally for ingredients and raw materials, thus shortening their supply chains and making them more efficient.

Fewer products coming in from across the borders also means consumers are forced to go online in search of secondhand goods and reuse what they already had.

Working from home during the pandemic also reduced the need for people to shop in-store because they no longer took lunch breaks to buy clothes 'just because.'

Pandemic partnerships

A 2021 Deloitte study6 highlighted brand partnerships as one of the key trends that came out of the pandemic and one that’s going to continue.

Global brands have developed partnerships with local brands – from neighbourhood cafés partnering with food delivery services like Uber Eats7 or fashion brands partnering with workout partners to stream workouts during lockdown.

Thanks to these collaborations and marketing power, businesses are stepping into the spotlight and able to sell to new audiences – local and global - interested in locally made products.

The resale market is here to stay, and businesses are evolving to meet their demands. Discover more e-commerce trends in the Think Forward: Conscious Commerce whitepaper.

Think Forward: Conscious Commerce Report (PDF)

Think Forward: Conscious Commerce Report (PDF)

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