Secondhand: the Hyper Consumption Antidote

 Photo by  Alex Holyoake . 

Photo by Alex Holyoake

Whether we reverse course in our consumption fueled destruction of the planet is ultimately up to consumers, businesses, and policy makers—but, mostly the former. At the end of the day, consumers drive the global economy and businesses will strive to supply that demand. It is excellent news then that consumers are increasingly shopping used / resold / rented apparel.

In April, thredUp, an online retailer of secondhand clothes, released its 2018 Resale Report (chock-full of colorful charts and graphs). Surprisingly, thredUP reported that online consignment sites reached 15% annual growth last year, as compared to just 2% growth for new apparel. That's nearly 24 times faster than retail as a whole. 

One in three women shopped secondhand in 2017. 
 Photo by  tu tu . 

Photo by tu tu

Given this unprecedented upward trend, thredUP predicts that the resale market will reach $41 billion by 2022—with 40% of it coming from apparel. If their assessment proves true, the secondhand clothing economy will surpass the hazardous fast fashion market, which is great news for the environment.   

70% of thredUP customers had never thrifted before.

thredUP found that millennials are both wasteful and eco-consious, with 18-24 year olds most likely to discard an item after 1-5 wears, yet more likely to switch to thrift for environmental reasons.  

At the same time, the discounted price of secondhand apparel attracted many new shoppers. Consumers who buy resold fashion or rent an outfit for an event or meeting, gain access to quality clothes and accessories they might not be able to afford otherwise. The widening options on the online market further facilitates and gives credit to the new secondhand economy.

62% of consumers switched to thrift because of constant new arrivals. 
Tiffany Duke