With the start of the pandemic, the fashion industry was affected the most. Many independent brands have closed, retail giants have filed for bankruptcy, and brick-and-mortar stores, if they haven’t shut their doors, are still financially recovering from the months they were forced to stay closed during the lockdown. On the contrary, the resale industry has grown during this period.
Many of the secondhand retailers had already noticed positive signs in the last few years. According to thredUP’s 2020 Resale Report, resale grew 25 times faster than retail in 2019, with 62M women buying secondhand products in 2019, compared to 56M in 2018 and 44M in 2017. The pandemic did not slow this growth.
Retailers such as Vestiaire Collective, Fashionphile, Rebag confirm their sales during the pandemic grew more than 100%, and it still grows.
Number 1 reason: Sustainability
Many consumers already started shopping secondhand for sustainability reasons long before 2020. According to thredUP’s report, 70% of consumers agree that addressing climate change is more important now than ever. “Choosing used instead of new is one of the easiest ways to lower your fashion footprint and participate in the circular economy.
While sustainability has been on the minds of many prior to the pandemic, the health emergency has forced many more to rethink their values and commitments. Many people started reconsidering their shopping behaviour, investing more on quality than quantity.
Number 2 reason: Price
It’s a well-known fact that secondhand is typically cheaper. And, as the pandemic resulted in millions of people losing their jobs, this is no small factor. According to thredUp’s report, 82% of people have or are open to shopping secondhand when money gets tighter. Moreover, it’s a proven psychological fact, that people shop for making themselves feel better. During these days who doesn’t want to cheer themselves up?
Will this be a continous trend?
Resale companies confirm that shopping secondhand is not a trend that will go away anytime soon. Consumers are increasingly focused on the importance of sustainability, online shopping, and the feeling of exclusivity from wearing one-of-a-kind, sold-out, and vintage pieces, many of which are more accessible on the resale market. Of course, this pattern is also because Gen Z is committed to tackling the climate emergency, and Millennials, too, are increasingly thinking about the eco-impact of fashion.
Last but not least, according to the thredUp report, the total secondhand market, which is currently $28B, is projected to reach $64B in five years; in 10 years, it predicts that resale will beat out fast fashion, with closets having more used and off-price clothing than any other category.