Resale clothing’s growth is off the charts.

By Rieva Lesonsky

According to eMarketer, the used clothing market is booming. ThredUp, itself an online marketplace for used clothing and shoes, released a study about the $20 billion resale market. It’s estimated that ThredUp and other online resale companies, such as Poshmark, Tradesy and The RealReal, will grow 49% this year. Compare that to growth projections for traditional retail (9%), off-price retail (7%) and the apparel category overall (2%).

The report says, “Used items accounted for 11% of clothing owned by second-hand buyers in 2012.” That increased to 24% last year, and is expected to hit 40% by 2022. Plus, according to the study, 33% of women shopped for second-hand clothes in 2017, led by younger millennials (ages 18-24), 40% of whom bought used apparel. Most of these younger buyers buy used clothes for “environmental reasons.”

Some of the other reasons consumers prefer shopping for resale items are to save money and find vintage goods. The ability to search for items makes this an ideal online business.

Small businesses in or entering this market are likely to benefit from the projected growth, since consumers plan to shop off-price stores, such as T.J. Maxx and department stores, less often. Some 71% of off-price shoppers say they expect to buy more used apparel in the next five years. If you’re thinking about starting this type of business, consider specializing in a niche—at least at the beginning.

Photo courtesy: Poshmark