The resale market – aka online thrifting – is predicted to overtake traditional bricks and mortar op-shops by 2024 and the fast fashion industry by 2029, according to recent research.
The 2020 Resale Report from companies ThredUP and GlobalData Retail shows the online market for secondhand clothes has grown 25 times faster than overall retail in the past year.
Secondhand apparel (buying and selling) is a global retail trend worth $39.8 billion NZD and is predicted to reach $91 billion NZD by 2025.
Generation Z – the under-24s - are leading the growth of online thrifting due to their passion for environmental issues as well as the price savings.
Pesticides, fertilisers and billions of litres of water are used in the generation of new clothing, hence consumers hugely limit their CO2 emissions when choosing to buy secondhand.
Carbon-tracking app CoGo has seen 10% of their overall users in New Zealand and 8% of their overall users in the UK commit to buying secondhand clothing.
In the U.S. In 2019, 40% of Gen Z bought secondhand, compared to 30% of Millennials (25-37), 20% of Gen X (38-55) and 20% of Boomers (>55).
Westpac NZ Sustainability Specialist Daisy Smith, 23, started selling her unwanted clothing online, as well as buying secondhand items online a few years ago.
“My best friend and I started selling our old clothing items through Instagram to fund our Europe trip, including buying bargains to resell them.
“We made enough money to fund the trip and kept the Instagram page going, which has built a small following while we clear out our old clothing and shoes. We also rent out dresses.
“During lockdown we did a huge wardrobe clear out and sold pretty much everything” she said.
Daisy, who is an advocate of boycotting fast fashion, buys 90% of her clothing from resale platforms or op shops.
“My love for secondhand and vintage items kicked in when I learned about fast fashion workers being underpaid and the manufacturing being unsustainable.
“I shop mainly through Instagram and blog sites, some of which are New Zealand websites and others international.
“My generation is showing a growing awareness of the unsustainable spiral of mass production and consumption.
“Fast fashion on a huge scale has a massive impact on carbon emissions, water consumption, pollution and waste generation,” she said.
Retail strategist and First Retail managing director Chris Wilkinson says younger consumers are particularly attracted to vintage because of its value, the environment and that ability to differentiate.
“We see this as a growing trend and it’s one that progressive retailers like Hallenstein Glasson Holdings have already latched onto with their own vintage ranges - a significant departure from their predominant fast fashion focus.
“It’s likely to be here to stay as more businesses move into the segment and we start to see new ranges blended with old.
“Similarly, we’ll see more vintage stores in our prime shopping areas as the category becomes mainstream,” Wilkinson said.