Fashion Resale Continues to Soar

Chart showing growth of secondhand fashion retail platforms.
Fashion resale category in this analysis includes Poshmark, The RealReal, thredUP, Tradesy, and Vinted

Retailers are jumping in to take share in the growing secondhand apparel market

Urban Outfitters last week announced its launch of a resale marketplace, Nuuly Thrift, in the fall, joining retail peers like LululemonLevi’s, and Patagonia in entering the “recommerce” market. It’s a trend that has both consumers and investors abuzz — Etsy made a splash with its acquisition of the Gen Z-focused Depop in June, and last year, Boston Consulting Group wrote that the global fashion resale market would likely see a compound annual growth rate of between 15% and 20% over the next five years. Earnest Research’s transaction data tracks the U.S. growth of the category. Does it live up to the hype?

Since the start of 2017, resale fashion sales have nearly tripled. Year-over-year (YoY) sales growth was strongest in 2018, growing each quarter between 45% and 54%, and in 2019 between 23% and 42% quarterly YoY. Post-2019, the single biggest quarterly gain for fashion resale occurred between Q4 2020 and Q1 2021, mostly driven by strong growth for Poshmark.

As new entrants increase competition within the secondhand apparel category, revenue durability, as revealed through customer health benchmarking exercises, will be increasingly important to watch. Competitive intelligence can help not only track the top-line growth, but changing customer behavior that threatens or bolsters retailers’ likelihood of success in this dynamic market.

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