The estimated value of the apparel, footwear, and accessories resale market is between $100-$120 billion worldwide—more than thrice the size it was in 2020, according to new research by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Vestiaire Collective, a global platform for preowned fashion.
According to media reports based on the research, the second-hand market is already worth 3%-5% of this overall sector and could grow to as much as 40%.
The research report, titled ‘What an Accelerating Secondhand Market Means for Fashion Brands and Retailers’, was released recently.
It is based on two global surveys of 6,000 consumers conducted in 2020, and 2,000 consumers in 2022, to better understand their engagement with the resale market.
While resale products make up nearly a quarter of second-hand products buyers’ closets, they are expected to comprise 27% of closets in 2023.
Gen-Z consumers are the most apt to both buy (31%) and sell (44%) second-hand items, with millennials close behind, a press release from BCG said.
While affordability was cited as the primary driver for buying second-hand items among more than half of respondents, this trend is declining.
Product variety was reported as the second biggest driver behind consumption of second-hand goods.
Moreover, 40% of buyers view second-hand as their way to consume fashion sustainably, and the same number are choosing this market for the large choice and unique pieces it offers.
In addition, 60% of those selling second-hand items are looking to clean out their wardrobes and make room in their closets.
That same number also reported motivation to recover the residual value of their item and either spend it on secondhand (39%) or firsthand (20%) products, or in general (39%).
While selling is an increasingly adopted behavior among buyers, not all buyers have sold items on the second-hand market themselves.
30% of non-sellers have something to sell but have not been able to find the time to list their items, in lieu of selling, 30% of respondents prefer to give their items away to friends or charities.
A quarter of buyers reported that they would not know what items they would sell from their wardrobes.
Nearly 60% of consumers have either discovered a brand or bought it for the first time second-hand, underscoring the strong opportunity for brands to increase their reach to new customers by participating in the resale market, the study found.