Resale is a multi-billion dollar a year industry and continues to be one of the fastest growing segments of retail. Between brick and mortar and ecommerce platforms, more and more sellers are opening up shop or adding used merchandise to their inventory to keep up with the demand from consumers.
Growth in Numbers
The resale industry has experienced a growth in the number of stores of approximately 7 percent a year for the past two years, according to The Association of Resale Professionals. This growth percentage reflects the estimated number of new stores opening each year, minus the businesses that close. The used merchandise store industry in the US includes about 20,000 stores, according to First Research.
Dunn & Brandstreet estimates that the resale industry in the U.S. has annual revenues of approximately $17.5 billion, including revenue from antique stores which are 13 percent of their statistics. ThredUp, an online resale marketplace, predicts that the resale market will reach $64 billion by 2028. The RealReal, a luxury goods consignment site, estimates their own 2020 revenues at $406 million and 2022 revenues of $700 million.
Resale shopping attracts consumers from all economic levels. Demographics, consumer income, and consumer tastes are driving the demand for this industry. But aside from numbers, it’s nice to find a fashion item or decorative piece that’s inexpensive. Fast fashion is big with social media influencers, constantly needing a new outfit to show off to their viewers, and buying used items is a great way to give viewers something new while also not going completely broke.
According to America’s Research Group, a consumer research firm, about 16 – 18 percent of Americans will shop at a thrift store during a given year. For consignment and resale shops, it’s about 12 – 15 percent. Those numbers may seem small, but keep in mind that during the same time frame, 11 percent of Americans shop in factory outlet malls, 20 percent in apparel stores and 21 percent in major department stores.
The Rise of the Conscious Consumer
Sustainable, eco-friendly consumers are also driving the surge in the resale industry. As concerns over the environmental impact of fast fashion increase, consumers recognize the inherent sustainability factor of shopping resale. ThredUp reports that buying just one used item can reduce its carbon footprint by as much as 82 percent. If every consumer purchased one used item once a month, imagine how much that could help our environment.
While large resale markets such as Goodwill, ThredUp, and The Salvation Army have a marketing and finance advantage, small companies can compete effectively by offering specialty products, serving a local market, or providing superior customer service. The U.S. industry is fragmented, and according to First Research, the 50 largest U.S. companies account for only about 30 percent of sales. The opportunity is waiting for you as a reseller!