By Parija Kavilanz, CNN
Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, step aside. Resale clothing shoppers are bypassing previously-owned luxury brands at discounted prices in favor of scoring secondhand mid-tier brands for less.
More affordable brands, such as Madewell, Zara, Urban Outfitters, Free People, Anthropologie, Abercrombie & Fitch and Levi’s are now the most popular brands with the best resale value, according to a new joint annual industry report from ThredUp, the world’s largest online thrift and consignment platform, and research and analytics firm GlobalData.
Re-worn clothing is a fast-growing market overall that’s expected to reach $70 billion in sales by 2027, from sales of $44 billion in 2023, the report said. As many as 75% of consumers have shopped, or are open to shopping, for secondhand clothing — and demand has only grown during the pandemic.
Among value-and-sustainability focused Gen Zers, the affinity for purchasing clothing that isn’t new is particularly strong, with 83% of younger shoppers having shopped or open to buying secondhand clothing, according to the report.
James Reinhart, CEO of ThredUp, said difficult macro-economic factors, including persistent inflation in consumer goods, has helped drive more momentum in the marketplace.
At the same time, he said inflation has also pushed up prices even for secondhand goods. “Prices are up broadly just as they are everywhere else in retail,” he said.
In this environment, he said secondhand shoppers are hyper-focused on value, especially when buying clothes, and mid-tier brands are sitting in this sweetspot. Among those brands, the report showed 30% of the top 20 offer their own resale programs.
Neil Saunders, a managing director with GlobalData, said traditional retailers are responding to demand by entering the resale segment and are really the ones driving the market forward.
“We expect increased adoption in retail as secondhand becomes more of a lifestyle for consumers,” he said. The reports said many as 88 brands launched their own dedicated resale programs last year, a 244% increase from 2021.
ThredUp competitor Poshmark said mid-tier brands like Nike, Free People, Zara and J. Crew were some of the most sought-after labels in March on its platform.
“In an often luxury-filled environment, there used to be somewhat of a stigma surrounding wearing mid-tier brands, but it’s now more of a flex to say your low-rise cargo pants are from J. Crew than it is to say you’re wearing a Prada backpack,” said Chloe Baffert, merchandising and curation expert at Poshmark
She said affordable, mass market brands are revamping their styles and are effectively leveraging social media to show how they’re staying more in tune with the latest trends.
“It’s a bragging right [for consumers] to say you’re on trend and within budget,” she said.
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