From vintage to mainstream: the rise of secondhand fashion

Second hand is increasing its sales which are estimated to become 10% of the global market with +18% compared to last year, especially among young people

The secondhand clothing market is making significant strides in the fashion industry, with predictions indicating it will constitute 10% of the global market by next year. This surge is driven by a mix of factors including the cost-of-living crisis and growing environmental sustainability concerns.

According to a report by GlobalData for ThredUp, highlighted by the Guardian, global sales of used clothing jumped by 18% last year, reaching $197 billion. The sector is expected to hit $350 billion by 2028. In the United States, the secondhand market is growing seven times faster than retail fashion sales, which remained flat in 2023 compared to the previous year.

This trend is fueled by consumers seeking value at a time when household budgets are tight. Shoppers are drawn to the chance to buy quality garments at affordable prices, along with the desire to reduce the environmental impact associated with new clothing production.

The generation Z and millennials are leading the way

The interest in secondhand clothing transcends age groups, with more than half of all shoppers having purchased something used in the past year. Generation Z and millennials are at the forefront of this movement.

The rise of online platforms such as Vinted, Depop, and ThredUp has made it easier than ever for people of all ages to buy used clothing. Moreover, the popularity of secondhand clothing is also gaining traction in the mainstream, with TV shows promoting secondhand style and major retailers hosting used clothing sellers in their stores.

Fashion brands are also engaging in this trend by collaborating with used specialists to host the resale of their products online or in stores. This marks a cultural shift in the fashion industry, with an increasing number of brands seeking to adopt more sustainable and responsible practices.

Despite the growth in secondhand clothing sales, specialized online sellers are facing financial challenges. However, positive signs for the future include predictions of increased sales and improved profit margins. This suggests that secondhand clothing will continue to grow as an integral part of the global fashion landscape.

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