Secondhand clothing sales set to be 10% of global fashion market in 2025

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Secondhand clothing sales are projected to represent 10% of the global fashion market by next year, as consumers increasingly turn to “pre-loved” garments amidst the cost of living crisis and sustainability concerns.

According to a report by GlobalData for resale specialist ThredUp, global sales of pre-owned clothes grew by 18% last year to $197 billion and are expected to reach $350 billion by 2028.

The growth of the secondhand market outpaced overall fashion retail, with the US secondhand market growing seven times faster than the fashion retail sector, which saw flat sales in 2023. James Reinhart, the co-founder and CEO of ThredUp, noted that the resale sector has shown resilience in challenging economic conditions, as consumers prioritize value when facing higher expenses.

The report found that over half of all shoppers had purchased secondhand items in the past year, with younger generations, particularly generation Z and millennials, leading the trend. Almost 40% of consumers cited affordability of higher-end brands as a reason for shopping secondhand.

Digital platforms like Vinted, Depop, and ThredUp are driving the growth of online resales, expected to more than double in the next five years to reach $40 billion. Additionally, mainstream acceptance of pre-loved fashion is rising, with initiatives like the reality TV show Love Island featuring contestants promoting secondhand style.

Older shoppers are more inclined to shop in physical stores such as charity shops and boutiques, while mainstream retailers like Selfridges and Primark are exploring hosting secondhand sellers in their stores.

Childrenswear and designer brands are experiencing significant growth in the secondhand market, with more labels collaborating with resale specialists to offer pre-loved products online or in stores. This trend is also motivated by impending legislation aimed at reducing fast fashion waste.

Despite robust sales growth, online fashion resale platforms have struggled to turn profits. Vinted and Depop reported significant pre-tax losses despite sales growth. However, ThredUp expects to break even this year as sales continue to rise and profit margins improve.