Could Resale Shopping Overtake Fast Fashion?

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Photo: Herianus Herianus/EyeEm/Getty Images

Between the RealReal and ThredUp, the resale market has definitely been growing. And now, a new study from ThredUp says consignment and thrift shopping could outpace fast fashion by 2027.

It seems pretty incredible that those names could outsell Zara and H&M, but according to what ThredUp’s co-founder told WWD, “The closet of the future is going to look very different from the closet of today.” Given fast fashion’s recent public scandals and financial troubles, maybe that isn’t so crazy.

ThredUp’s annual report, based mostly on data from outside firms, suggested that the market will grow from $20 billion to $41 billion by 2022, and could account for 11 percent of people’s wardrobes. Last year, resale accounted for 6 percent of the market while fast fashion was 9 percent. By 2027, that’s projected to shift to 11 percent resale and 10 percent fast fashion.

Resale is appealing to people looking for cheap(er) designer goods and those who want to be more sustainable. Fashionista reported that when it comes to millennials, “77 percent of them say they prefer to buy from environmentally conscious brands and they are ‘more likely to switch to thrift for environmental reasons.’”

But “fast fashion” as defined by the study does not include direct-to-consumer brands like ASOS, value or “off-price” sellers like TJ Maxx and Target, department stores, Amazon, or mid-priced brands like Gap. Those combined account for 67 percent of the market and few are sustainably minded.

So while resale probably won’t entirely replace traditional retail, its growth is a promising start in a more sustainable direction.

Could Resale Shopping Overtake Fast Fashion?