The Secondhand Industry - More Than a Hype?

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The resale of pre-owned goods is booming, but how big is this sector’s potential really?

  • The secondhand market has been growing rapidly for some time - this was only accelerated by the pandemic. An increasing interest in living more sustainably has made online marketplaces popular.
  • Some posit that secondhand goods could be a crucial element in the reduction of CO2 emissions, and that this kind of circular economy is better at tackling climate change than the recycling of goods.
  • But while this may be true to some extent, how big is the scope for major change, and how likely a huge shift away from fast consumerism and towards secondhand shopping?
  • The secondhand market is already heavily bleeding into so-called community-driven or social commerce, which involves the use of social media and a more personalized, curated shopping experience.
  • The resale sector is forecast to grow 11 times faster than the broader retail clothing sector by 2025, which suggests that it can disrupt fast fashion, one of the world’s most pollutive industries.
  • But as the market takes off, there is concern over the gentrification of the secondhand sector, and professional “haulers” who source pre-owned goods en masse for the lucrative resale trade.
Articles from 5 publishers

5 articles on this topic

The Conversation

Secondhand clothing sales are booming – and may help solve the sustainability crisis in the fashion industry

3 min read

Depop and thrift shopping are popular on TikTok. But is buying too much unethical?

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10 min read

Can China look past counterfeits and superstition in its burgeoning second-hand fashion market?

7 min read

Inside the $644 billion business of reselling returned items, from electronics to bizarre finds

5 min read

'The Best Thing You Can Do Is Not Buy More Stuff,' Says 'Secondhand' Expert

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1 min read