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2019 Resale Report

Foreword

Resale is on the move, people! From big retailers to small retailers, seed stage investors to large buyout firms, and from the New York Times to Netflix, everyone seems to be talking about the future of resale. Part of me says, “It’s about time!” but the other part says, “Everybody slow your roll!” Like all major movements and category disruptions, mainstream adoption happens over time, and this category is just getting started.

The last few years of growth in the resale market have been driven by the early adopters (the same ones who first adopted Airbnb or Lyft or DoorDash), but now the skeptics are starting to come around. At thredUP, we’re seeing first-time thrifters coming to platforms like ours in droves. Not surprisingly, the younger generations are leading this charge, with millennials and Gen Z adopting secondhand 2.5x faster than other age groups.

Even traditional retailers are starting to embrace secondhand. The resale customer is no longer somebody else’s customer, they are everybody’s customer. Mass market or luxury, if people can find a high-quality product for much less, they’ll choose used. As the line between new and used apparel blurs for consumers, a powerful transformation in retail will unfold.

The resale customer is no longer somebody else’s customer, they are everybody’s customer. Mass market or luxury, if people can find a high-quality product for much less, they’ll choose used.

I’ve never been more excited about resale’s potential to delight customers and help create a more sustainable future. We hope you enjoy reading our 2019 Resale Report as much as we’ve enjoyed pulling it together. We believe this year, more than ever, the data speaks for itself.

Onward.

- JAMES REINHARTCo-founder & CEO

Methodology

thredUP’s Annual Resale Report contains research & data from GlobalData, a third-party retail analytics firm. GlobalData’s assessment of the secondhand market is determined through consumer surveys, retailer tracking, official public data, data sharing, store observation, and secondary sources. These inputs are used by analysts to model and calculate market sizes, channel sizes, and market shares. Further, for the purpose of this report, GlobalData conducted a January 2019 survey of 2,000 American women over 18, asking specific questions about their behaviors and preferences for secondhand. thredUP’s Resale Report also leverages data from the following sources: Green Story Research, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a survey of Senior Retail Executives, internal thredUP customer and brand performance data, and fashion insights from EDITED. View all sources here.


Definitions:

Secondhand: Consumption of all used apparel. Includes both the Resale sector and the Thrift & Donation sector.

Donation & Thrift: A sector of the broader ‘secondhand’ market that includes traditional options such as Goodwill, Salvation Army, and yard sales. These secondhand options are primarily, but not exclusively, offline.

Resale: A sector of the broader ‘secondhand’ market that includes more curated product assortments, often well merchandised and/or higher end. Examples include thredUP and TheRealReal as well as upscale physical players like Buffalo Exchange. These secondhand options are primarily, but not exclusively, online.

Secondhand Products: Consumption of all used apparel, footwear, accessories, books, furniture, entertainment, and beauty.

View all definitions here.


Disclosure:

All third party brand names and logos appearing in this report are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders. Any such appearance does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement of thredUP.

01

The Rise of Resale:
Size and Market Growth

“Compared to the overall apparel market, resale’s growth has been phenomenal. As the market uniquely meets consumers’ preference for variety, value, and sustainability, we expect the high growth to continue.”

– Neil Saunders, GlobalData Managing Director & Lead Market Analyst for thredUP’s Resale Report

Secondhand Market Will Reach $51B In 5 Years

Total Secondhand Apparel Market to Double in 5 Years With Resale Sector Driving the Growth1

Leading Resale Sector Players

Managed marketplace for all brands—from GAP to Gucci.

Managed marketplace for luxury and designer brands.

Peer-to-peer marketplace focused on social commerce.

Resale has grown

0X

faster than the retail
apparel market over
the past three years.1

There Are More Secondhand Shoppers Than Ever Before

64% of Women Bought or Are Now Willing to Buy Secondhand Products

Percentage of women over 18 who have bought or are open to buying secondhand products in the future2

Includes apparel, footwear, accessories, books, furniture, entertainment, and beauty.

10M

women bought secondhand products in 2018, up from

10M

in 2017.2

The Thrill of the Hunt Transcends Age and Income

Secondhand Attracts All Ages, but Millennials & Boomers Thrift the Most

Loading Secondhand ages pie chart
Secondhand Apparel Shoppers by Age2

Secondhand Shoppers Are in Every Store—From Walmart to Gucci2

26% of luxury shoppers also buy secondhand.

25% of department store shoppers also buy secondhand.

22% of value chain shoppers also buy secondhand.

Millennials and Gen Z Are Driving the Growth of Secondhand

Loading Age groups adopting secondhand chart

The Innovation & Technology That Created a Resale Revolution

Loading Thredup Cleanout Bag

1

Unlocking an Endless Supply Chain

Innovations like the thredUP Clean Out Kit make it easy to sell from home, attracting millions to participate in resale for the first time.

2

Creating Value With Data Science

Sophisticated algorithms assign resale value at scale. thredUP uses millions of historical data points to instantly determine what something is worth.

Loading Thredup Warehouse Clothing Racks

3

Massive Volume & Scale With Automation

Resellers must be efficient when photographing, listing, and storing infinite SKUs. thredUP automates processing of up to 100K one-of-a-kind items a day.

4

Technology to Shop From Anywhere

Mobile apps and personalization have made buying used clothes as easy as buying new. Convenience and trust has attracted a new generation of secondhand shoppers.

03

The Closet of the Future

“In fashion, the shift to new ownership models is driven by growing customer desire for variety, sustainability, and affordability. In 2019, we predict more consumers will see growing proportion of their wardrobes made up of pre-owned or rented products.”

– McKinsey x Business of Fashion, “The State of Fashion 2019”

Meet The Closet of the Future

GlobalData Market Sizing and Growth Estimates (2019)1

Secondhand Will Be Larger Than Fast Fashion Within 10 Years

Secondhand Is Projected to Grow to Nearly 1.5x the Size of Fast Fashion by 20281

“Resale offers the wardrobe-rotating fun of fast fashion without the guilt or waste. By driving preferences away from disposable fashion towards higher-quality clothes, reuse is a boon for our personal style and the planet.”

– Elizabeth L. Cline, Author of The Conscious Closet

thredUP Slows Down
Fast Fashion

525K

fast fashion items were upcycled
last year on thredUP alone.7

Where Consumers Plan to Shift Spend

where will you spend more or less in the next 5 years?2

Responses represent buying intentions of those who shopped each retail category.

Secondhand is Stealing Wallet-Share from Retail

10%

of secondhand shoppers shifted spend away from traditional retailers to buy more used items.

Secondhand is Capturing Market Share1

The average secondhand shopper replaced

new apparel items with used items within the past 12 months.2

That’s $260 of spend diverted to secondhand.*

*Secondhand customers spend an average of $32.53 per item2, bringing total displacement spend of 8 items to $260.

04

A New Resale x Retail Model is Emerging

“The retail sector needs to find ways to embrace, acquire, or partner with resale business models because customer adoption is likely to continue. Customers of the future will look for ways to recycle, resell or upcycle, and will be drawn to the incredible value of buying secondhand. We believe that brands will need to partner with resale sites and support the circular economy.”

– Cowen and Company, “Thrift & Retail Resale Is Major: Understanding thredUP” November 2018

Retailers Spot Opportunity in Resale

Percentage of consumers who said, “I would buy more from this retailer if they also offered used apparel.”2

Used Products Boost
Sales & Traffic

thredUP pop-ups in department stores entice customers to spend

10%

more and visit 70% more frequently.7

Apparel Recycling
Drives Loyalty

10%

of consumers would increase loyalty to a brand if a recycling program was offered.2

Nearly 9 in 10 Retail Executives Want to Get Into Resale by 2020

Platforms Retailers
Want to Test by 20205

“While established brands have traditionally turned a blind or scorning eye towards secondhand retail, they are now wading into the pre-owned and rental markets. Turning to the year ahead, we expect the number of brands getting into the rental, resale, and refurbishment businesses will increase markedly.”

– McKinsey x Business of Fashion, “The State of Fashion 2019”

Top 5 Motivators for
Retail to Test Resale5

1. Revenue Boost
2. Sustainability
3. Customer Loyalty
4. New Customers
5. Increase Store or Site Traffic

Meet the Circular Fashion Pioneers

Eileen Fisher x Renew

Customers can bring their old Eileen Fisher clothes back and receive a $5 Rewards Card for each item.

The RealReal x Stella McCartney

Stella customers who consign with The RealReal receive an immediate $100 credit to shop at Stella stores.

thredUP x Cuyana

Customers can clean out with thredUP and earn Cuyana credit, replacing cluttered wardrobes with fewer, better things.

thredUP x Reformation

Customers clean out with thredUP to earn Reformation credit. The program drives brand loyalty and has helped Reformation meet apparel recycling goals.

For Days

A new clothing line designed for the circular economy. Buy a T-shirt, refresh it anytime. For Days will recycle everything you send back.

Everlane ReNew

Everlane launched a new collection made from recycled plastic bottles as part of a broader commitment to use no new plastic in clothing by 2021.

05

thredUP’s Most
Resellable Brands

“thredUP's Resale Value Rankings give consumers the confidence to invest in garments that are durable and resellable. By mining thredUP's unique trove of data, we can help guide purchasers toward clothes that can be resold rather than discarded—a mindset shift that is good for wallets and the planet.”

– Tess Kornfield, thredUP’s Lead Data Scientist

Brands With the Best Resale Value Overall

Top 10 brands with the best resale value ranking*

Scarcity Drives Resale Demand

Kate Spade soars to top 10, Henri Bendel is now in the top 50, and Karl Lagerfeld product is seeing a 200%+ sales spike.

Quality Drives Resale Confidence

Frye and Patagonia weave stories around the quality construction of their garments.

Used Athletic Wear Goes Mainstream

Lululemon soared to #9 in the rankings while Nike stayed flat in the 100s.

Best Brand Buys for Every Price Point

Brands with the Best Resale Value Ranking: By Price

Swapping Heels
for Sneakers

Jimmy Choo & Christian Louboutin
both dropped ~700 spots, while
Keds jumped over 1,000.

Namesake Handbags
On Trend

Kate Spade and Tory Burch jumped
into the top 10, climbing 76 and 59
spots respectively.

Sustainability
(Re)sells

Patagonia jumped 233
spots into the top 10.

Meghan Markle Effect

Sustainable brands surge as eco-minded celebs endorse them.

Everlane jumped nearly 4,000 spots,
and Veronica Beard jumped 407.

Resale Value Ranking: thredUP evaluated 35,000+ unique brands on its platform and created an aggregate score to determine a brand's ranking based on demand, virality, and value to the seller.
Jumps & Drops: These reflect changes in a brand's resale ranking between 2017 and 2018.

Items With the Best Resale Value

Category-Brand Combinations with the Best Resale Value Ranking*

*Resale Value Ranking: thredUP evaluated 35,000+ unique brands on its platform and created an aggregate score to determine a brand's ranking based on demand, virality, and value to the seller.

06

Paving the Way for a
Circular Fashion Future

“By helping to increase the use of clothing, resale can play a key role in making fashion circular. Raising the average number of times clothing is worn is the most direct way to design out waste and pollution and capture value.”

– Francois Souchet, The Ellen MacArthur Foundation's Make Fashion Circular Lead

The Textile Waste Crisis Is Accelerating

Fashion Today is
Wasteful & Pollutive

The equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or incinerated every second.

108M tons of non-renewable resources are used each year to produce clothing.

The textile industry will account for 25% of the global carbon budget by 2050.

We’re Buying Twice As Much Clothing &
Wearing It Half As Long

Data by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation: Make Fashion Circular

Resale Plays a Key Role in Creating a Circular Fashion Future

Linear economy
Recycling Economy
Circular economy

About Make Fashion Circular: Started by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, this initiative brings together leaders from across the fashion industry. The goal is to drive collaboration and innovation necessary to create a fashion industry that can thrive in the future, where clothes are made from safe and renewable materials, new business models increase their use, and used clothes are turned into new ones.

Circular Fashion

  1. Materials: Clothes are made from safe and renewable materials.

  2. Design: Create clothes in a way that they can be resold, renewed, or made into new clothes.

  3. Resell: Extend the life of clothes via resale, rental, and other business models.

Choosing Used Combats Harmful Effects of Textile Waste

If Everyone Bought One Used Item Instead of New This Year, We Would Save:3

savings
Equivalent

5.7B lbs of
CO2 emissions

Half a million cars taken
off the road for a year

11B kWh
of energy

Light up the Eiffel Tower
for 141 years

25B gallons
of water

Fill up 1,140
Bellagio fountains

449M lbs
of waste

The weight of 1M
polar bears

thredUP Has Upcycled 65M
Items in the Past 5 Years

NUMBER OF ITEMS THREDUP HAS RECEIVED
ANNUALLY FROM CLOSETS ACROSS AMERICA7

Sources & Definitions

Primary Sources

1. GlobalData Market Sizing: GlobalData’s assessment of the secondhand market is determined through ongoing retailer tracking, official public data, data sharing, store observation, consumers surveys, and secondary sources. These inputs are used by analysts to model and calculate market sizes, channel sizes, and market shares.

2. GlobalData Survey: The consumer data in this report is derived from a consumer survey of 2,000 women. The survey asked them a number of questions about their attitudes towards apparel, secondhand products, and resale products. The sample was designed to be representative of age and income and was also geographically representative. Surveying was undertaken by GlobalData between December 11, 2018 and January 6, 2019.


Secondary Sources

3. Green Story Environmental Study: Independent research firm, Green Story Inc. was contracted to calculate the environmental savings from reuse of secondhand garments sold by thredUP. The study compared the environmental burden of purchasing a brand-new garment with that of reusing an average garment sold by thredUP across all stages of the garment’s lifecycle. The savings were calculated across three areas: greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and water consumption. The study followed international ISO 14040 LCA standard.

4. Ellen MacArthur Foundation: Data from 2015 report, “A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning Fashion’s Future.”

5. Senior Retail Executive Survey: 20 of the top retailers were surveyed in January 2019 about their 2020 Circular Fashion goals.

6. Resale Value Rankings: thredUP evaluated 35,000+ unique brands on its platform and created an aggregate score to determine a brand's ranking based on demand, virality and value to the seller.

7. Internal thredUP Customer Behavior / Data.

8. EDITED retail analytics.


Retail Sector Definitions

Secondhand: Consumption of all used apparel. Includes both the Resale sector and the Thrift & Donation sector.

Department Stores: A type of general retail store, wherein the retailer displays products within distinct departments, often located on separate floors, specializing in defined product areas. Examples include Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Sears, JCPenney, Nordstrom, etc.

Off-Price: A retailer that sells items at lower prices than those typically charged by retail businesses. Off-price stores typically purchase overstocked goods or make special purchases. Examples include TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Ross, Burlington, etc.

Value Chains: Value stores are a retail format that sells inexpensive items, at a single or limited number of price points, like dollar stores. Also includes Walmart.

Mid-Priced Specialty: Specialist clothing retailers operating in the middle of the market in terms of price, i.e. not value but not premium or luxury. Tend to be found in malls or traditional main street locations. Examples include Gap, Ann Taylor

Fast Fashion: Specialist clothing retailers with a fast stock turnaround and whose model relies on selling high volumes at (usually) inexpensive price points. Examples include Zara, H&M, etc.

Direct to Consumer: Online only specialists and generalists selling clothing direct to the public, excludes C2C or auction type sites, also excludes the online part of traditional retail businesses. Examples include Everlane, Outdoor Voices, etc.

Amazon: Amazon's clothing sales in the US, stated at gross merchandise value.

Subscription: Subscription based services for clothing, such as StitchFix and Trunk Club. Excludes non-clothing elements of subscriptions where relevant; and rental.

Other: Sales of clothing from all other sources, including: grocers and supermarkets, drug stores, duty free, warehouse clubs, variety stores, other non-clothing specialists, convenience stores, etc.


Reports & Articles Referenced

Ellen MacArthur Foundation: Data from 2015 report, “A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning Fashion’s Future”

Raymond James, “The Rise of the Fashion Resale Marketplaces” 2018 Report

McKinsey x Business of Fashion “State of Fashion 2019” Report

Fast Company Article: “A Complete Guide to Buying Ethical Clothes on a Budget”