I often get asked if resale as a category has hit the mainstream. People want to know if it's had its breakout moment yet. Has it “arrived”? The answer is...sort of. Let me explain.
The truth is more people are shopping secondhand than ever before. In fact, one in three women shopped secondhand last year. Not just at thredUP or in apparel, but across all categories, consumers are shopping smarter and thinking secondhand first. And the number of people who are trying secondhand for the first time is rapidly increasing. 70% of new customers who shopped on thredUP were first-time resale shoppers. 70%!
There is a powerful transformation of the modern closet happening and resale is a key driver.
Resale as a category isn’t alone. The modern consumer now has a choice between shopping traditional retail or trying new, innovative business models. New apparel experiences and brands are emerging at record rates to replace old ones. Rental, subscription, resale, direct-to-consumer, and more. The closet of the future is going to look very different from the closet of today. When you get that perfectly curated assortment from Stitch Fix, or subscribe to Rent the Runway’s everyday service, or find that killer handbag on thredUP you never could have afforded new, you start realizing how much your preferences and behavior is changing.
But innovation can be messy. And that’s where I think we are in the innovation cycle. Sometimes the clothes don’t fit, sometimes the quality doesn’t match the price, sometimes customer service is uneven, or shipping times mess with the best-laid plan. Remember, behind all of these major forces in apparel are complex and sophisticated platforms only starting to mature. As William Gibson, the famous science fiction writer once remarked, “The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed.” The apparel evolution taking place is less than eight years old. We’re all trying to supplant a tradition that Marshall Field pioneered a hundred years ago!
There is a powerful transformation of the modern closet happening and I’m proud that resale is a key driver of this transformation. If you haven’t seen it firsthand, ask a group of friends to compare their closet of ten years ago to their closet today. We did a comparison in this year’s report and boy it makes for an interesting conversation...
Thank you for picking up a copy of our 6th Annual Resale Report. We’re excited to share it with you!
In case you missed it, fashion is the second-most polluting industry in the world, surpassed only by petroleum.
Picking up and disposing of brand-new clothes all the time drives demand for nonstop manufacturing, which contributes to the fashion industry’s incredible waste.
When you buy something old and previously-loved, you’re extending its lifespan and reducing its carbon footprint.