The Boom of Second-Hand Clothing

  • by Reba Collins
The Boom of Second-Hand Clothing

Second-hand buying, which was once considered taboo, is exploding. Any stigma that was once attached to used pre-owned clothing has all but disappeared and everyone fueling the market is benefiting.

Why are consumers buying more pre-loved fashion? According to ThredUp's Annual Resale Report for 2021, sustainability, saving money, quality, and a distain for waste are driving the demand. 

By going through ThredUp's report you get a sense that buying used clothing has become a new trend. They say the unique experience of thrifting, motivated by sustainability, is what consumers are looking for. It's the thrill of the find:

  • Value - Nearly 3 in 4 second-hand buyers prefer retailers that help them save money
  • Freshness - Nearly 1 in 2 second-hand buyers prefer retailers that offer fresh new arrivals every time they visit
  • Fun - Nearly 1 in 2 second-hand buyers prefer brands that offer the excitement of not knowing what they'll find

And Gen Z is leading the way. According to Eliza Huber, Fashion Market Writer at Refinery29, "For Gen Z, thrifting isn't just a way to shop - it's a lifestyle. Thrifting feels emblematic of the way Gen Z strays from the beaten path. They want to be independent. They want to save the planet."

It seems Gen Z and Millennials are powering the rise of second-hand buying with pre-owned purchases in those age groups up as much as 21% since 2016. And over 40% of those in these groups have shopped second-hand apparel, shoes, and accessories in the past 12 months.

Gen Z & Millennials are buying second-hand clothing

Photo from ThredUp 2021 Resale Report

All this interest in the resale market has to make you wonder, how will traditional retailers adapt to this new trend? When polled by ThredUp, 60% of retailers have, or are open to offering second-hand to their customers. That's 23,800 retailers! Yes, that's a ton. But it makes you wonder how they will get involved and if they are serious. Saying they're interested is one thing but doing something about it is another.

Most retailers interested in getting into resale say that partnering with an existing resale business is the best way to go forward in the market. According to Cathaleen Chen, Correspondent at The Business of Fashion, "The second-hand market is booming, and brands are piling in. But selling pre-worn clothes online is challenging. Every item must be sorted, priced, photographed and described in a listing. Resellers have giant warehouses where that work is automated. With resale far outpacing the growth of the overall fashion sector, brands must consider their options."

It has yet to be seen what traditional retailers will do to join the bandwagon. But in the meantime, there are plenty of ways to buy second-hand clothes. Ebay is the original reseller with over 159 million active buyers in just the second quarter of 2021, they are definitely the leader in the second-hand market. But others like Poshmark, Mercari, and Depop are moving up in the ranks. 

Then there are smaller websites like EUCwear. We got started on Poshmark, added Ebay, Mercari, and now our own website. When you buy from a small seller like us, you directly support a family which is sustainability at its core.

While here on our site, be sure to check out what we offer. We add new second-hand items daily, will help you save a ton of money, and we offer free returns for any reason. Our site was built with you in mind, we specifically made it easy to navigate so you can find items in the size, color, and brand you want. And I've got to say, when you shop EUCwear, you'll be dealing with the friendliest people you'll find anywhere. Hope to see you shopping our site soon.

Until next time,


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