3.5 minutes

Apparel resale grew seven times faster than the total U.S. apparel market in the U.S. in 2023, on track to reach $73 billion by 2028.

The apparel resale market continued to grow in 2023, accounting for $197 billion in sales globally, according to ThredUp’s 2024 Resale Report. The online reseller buys secondhand clothes from individual customers and has deals with retailers including Reformation, American Eagle, and PacSun.

Findings are based on market size and growth estimates from retail analysis firm GlobalData and a survey of 50 U.S. retailers.

ThredUp ranks No. 590 in the Top 1000, Digital Commerce 360’s database of the largest North American online retailers. Reformation is No. 341, American Eagle is No. 40 and Pacsun is No. 231.

Online resale continues to grow

2023 global apparel secondhand sales grew 18% over 2022, when they came in at $167 billion. The majority of resale apparel sales were in Asia, followed by North America and Europe.

Apparel resale grew seven times faster than the total U.S. apparel market in the U.S. in 2023, ThredUp found. It projects the U.S. apparel resale market will reach $73 billion by 2028.


Much of that growth comes from online retail, according to ThredUp’s report. Online resale grew 23% year over year in 2023, outpacing total secondhand growth. That was also 2.2% faster than it grew in 2022. ThredUp predicts online sales will account for half of all secondhand spending by 2028, reaching $40 billion in the U.S. in 2027.

45% of Gen Z and millennial consumers prefer to purchase secondhand items online, rather than in stores, according to a survey of 3,654 U.S. adults from GlobalData. That compares to 38% who prefer buying from stores. The trend is most pronounced among millennials, who prefer shopping resale through a managed marketplace over other options.

Consumers turn to apparel resale for value

Analysts and industry experts say consumers have been resilient and continued spending despite inflation over the last two years. However, consumers have also been pickier about how they spend, and increasingly look for value, as the National Retail Federation noted in its 2024 state of U.S. retail webinar.

That’s a boon to resellers. Nearly three-quarters of survey respondents told GlobalData that value is their top concern when making an apparel purchase. 59% said if they can’t find a good deal on an apparel item, they won’t make the purchase. Many of those consumers see resale as a solution. Value was the top reason respondents said they shop secondhand, and 60% said shopping secondhand apparel gave them the best value for their money. 41% of consumers said they look at secondhand options before other channels, and about half of millennials and Gen Z look to resale first.


Survey responses point to the trend continuing into 2024, too. On average, consumers said they plan to cut down on full-price apparel purchases by 7% in 2024 from 2023 spending. 55% said that if the economy doesn’t improve, they’ll spend more of their apparel budget on resale. 

“With more than half of all consumers shopping for secondhand apparel last year, it’s evident that resale is now firmly embedded in the fashion landscape,” Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData, said in a statement. “Secondhand buying transcends generations, with the role of resale changing throughout consumers’ lives. … Secondhand’s flexibility in meeting such varied needs is a key reason it’s become so popular and has such a promising growth trajectory.”

Branded resale is on the upswing

Resale can be lucrative for retailers, too. Some retailers, including those in partnership with ThredUp, sell used products from their own brands to customers at a lower price point. ThredUp said retailers offering branded resale grew 31% in 2023. New additions include J. Crew (No. 78 in the Top 1000), American Eagle, and Kate Spade (part of Tapestry, No. 43).

Of retailers that offer resale, 67% told GlobalData that it helped them acquire new customers. Just over two-thirds of those retailers said that resale will generate at least 10% of revenue within the next five years. 


In addition, 74% of surveyed retail executives who don’t currently offer resale said they are either considering adding it, or already have plans to expand into resale.

ThredUp also ranks the best-performing brands in resale based on sell-through rates and the volume of listings on its marketplace. In 2023, Lululemon (No. 25) was the top-performing brand by those metrics, followed by Patagonia (No. 174) and Vuori.

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