ThredUp, the online resale platform for apparel, shoes and accessories, released the results of its 2024 Resale Report. Conducted by third-party retail analytics firm GlobalData, the 12th annual study measures the global secondhand market, with forward-looking projections through 2033. It also includes trends driving online resale growth, momentum in branded resale and the government’s role in reducing fashion’s impact and potential implications for the 2024 U.S. election. 

ThredUp based the report’s findings on the following:

  1. Market size and growth estimates from GlobalData 
  2. Survey of 3,654 U.S. consumers over 18
  3. Survey of 50 top U.S. fashion retailers and brands

“The global secondhand apparel market continues to burgeon—a testament to the intrinsic value shoppers find in the secondhand experience and proof of the seismic shift towards a more circular fashion ecosystem. As we celebrate this progress, we also recognize the powerful role the government can play in accelerating the transition to a more sustainable future for fashion. Now in its 12th year, the Resale Report shows some of the most promising signals of what that future could look like with increased levels of support. Until fashion is no longer one of the most damaging sectors of the global economy, we will continue to advocate for the government to help drive adoption and behavior change in fashion,” said James Reinhart, CEO of ThredUp.

“With more than half of all consumers shopping for secondhand apparel last year, it’s evident that resale is now firmly embedded in the fashion landscape. Secondhand buying transcends generations, with the role of resale changing throughout consumers’ lives. Younger shoppers turn to secondhand for self-expression and to help create their personal style; parents rely on secondhand to outfit their families in a cost-effective and eco-conscious way; and older generations turn to secondhand to snag affordable, higher-end brands and for the thrill of the hunt. Secondhand’s flexibility in meeting such varied needs is a key reason it’s become so popular and has such a promising growth trajectory,” said Neil Saunders, managing director, GlobalData.

ThredUp 2024 Resale Report, Top 5 Trends
(all figures pertain to the U.S. unless otherwise noted)

The secondhand apparel market outpaced the broader retail sector. Online resale accelerated growth.

  • The global secondhand apparel market could reach $350 billion by 2028, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12 percent.
  • The U.S. secondhand apparel market grew seven times faster than the broader retail clothing market in 2023 and is forecasted to reach $73 billion by 2028.
  • Online resale is expected to more than double in the next five years, reaching $40 billion by 2028 and growing at a CAGR of 17 percent.

Shoppers gravitate toward buying secondhand apparel online. For the first time, younger consumers prefer buying online versus brick-and-mortar.

  • Nearly 2 in 3 consumers who made a secondhand apparel purchase in 2023 made at least one purchase online, up 17 points from 2022.
  • 45 percent of younger consumers prefer to buy secondhand apparel online, compared to 38 percent who prefer to buy at brick-and-mortar.

Resale grows in a value-seeking environment where consumers are buying on a deal.

  • Nearly 3 in 4 consumers said that value is king when it comes to apparel spending.
  • 60 percent of consumers said shopping secondhand apparel gives them the most bang for their buck.
  • 55 percent of consumers said they would spend more on secondhand apparel if the economy did not improve.

Branded resale is booming. Retailers are generating revenue, advancing sustainability goals and acquiring new customers.

  • 163 brands offer resale shops, according to ThredUp’s Recommerce 100, up 31 percent compared to 2022. New entrants in 2023 included J. Crew, American Eagle, and Kate Spade. FullBeauty Brands, ELOQUII, Modcloth, and Betabrand added resale programs powered by ThredUp’s Resale-as-a-Service (RaaS).
  • Nearly 2 in 3 retail executives who offer resale said it would generate at least 10 percent of the company’s total revenue within five years.
  • 87 percent of retail executives who offer resale said it advanced sustainability goals.
  • 38 percent of consumers said they shop secondhand to afford higher-end brands, up 11 points from 2022.

Government action could accelerate the transition to a more sustainable future for fashion. Voters said they would favor candidates who support circularity.

  • 42 percent of consumers said the government should take legislative action to help promote sustainable fashion.
  • 40 percent of consumers said they are more likely to vote for a candidate that supports sustainable fashion.
  • 52 percent of retail executives said they would adopt circular business models if government-sponsored financial incentives existed.

Go here to access the full report and archives of past reports.

Image courtesy American Eagle

See below for more information from this year’s report. including Best Brands for Resale:

EXEC: Lululemon, Patagonia and Vuori Top Best Brands for Resale Report