Resale is the new Retail

It seems we’re not the only ones that think that Resale is the way to go.  Globally the resale market is going mad.  The success of brands internationally like ThredUp, Depop, Tradesy, Vinted, Poshmark and many more, all show that sustainability is becoming a powerful force in consumer purchasing behaviour.  When we think of the second-hand market we tend to picture slightly worn out Op-shops in suburban strips, and while these do exist (and you know what – they’re still full of hidden gems), this is increasingly not the case anymore.  Op-shops are starting to curate items around themes aimed at attracting shoppers, vintage stores with undeniable edgy, cool vibes are popping up all over the place, and then there’s the online Resale world…..!  

Vinted in Europe is a consumer resale platform that has 25 million members buying and selling their wardrobes. Tradesy in the United States put $1B worth of sales through its platform in 2019, all second-hand from people’s wardrobes. Depop has 13 million users worldwide. ThredUp has raised approximately $382 million from investors in support of its consignments based secondhand marketplace.  These are big businesses – all built on the back of the second-hand market and all of them are increasing the circularity of clothing and through this reducing the toll of textile disposal on the planet.

The second-hand marketplace is made up of traditional thrift and donation and resale. ThredUp estimates that over the next five years the global value of this market will reach $64B(US) – with resale making up more than half of that figure.  That is a BIG number!  More importantly – that is a big, juicy, positive impact on the environment in terms of reducing landfill and CO2 emissions.   The fashion industry is a significant contributor to environmental pollution and damage.  This impact occurs at multiple points throughout its value and supply chain, starting at the primary production of materials and moving through manufacturing to consumer retail, where overconsumption of fashion is a really big problem. 

Global consumption of apparel was 62 million tonnes in 2019, and if nothing changes, that is expected to rise to 102 million tonnes by 2029.  That’s crazy?!   We’re creating an issue for ourselves that is becoming insurmountable – how much landfill can we actually generate before we say enough?!  In Australia alone we send approximately 6 tonnes of textiles to landfill every 10 minutes……take a moment to think about that! While you’re mulling over the environmental impact think about this as well. That represents a retail value of around $500 million that we are throwing in the bin each year – just in Australia!  And why?  Because the average person wears only 20% of what’s in their wardrobe on a yearly basis. Because we wear items on average 7 times before we get rid of them. Because around 25% of what is donated to charities is unusable and because we still don’t have consumer ready, sustainable methods for safely returning all textiles to the biosphere…..

The contents of the average Australian woman’s wardrobe are worth approximately $5000.  If you’re saying – ‘no way, not mine’, I challenge you to look in your wardrobe and check – I guarantee you’ll be surprised what it all adds up to. So, here’s a question for you – if you only wear on average 20% of what’s in your wardrobe, isn’t it worth maybe selling some of it and making some money for yourself, while keeping it in circulation for a little while longer and reducing textile waste?  If the answer is yes, next time you need a little retail therapy – why don’t you check out some of the resale platforms and try a little Resale therapy instead – the downstream effects on the planet are enormous, and the upstream effects on your wallet aren’t bad either.