Woman in bright colors and red sunglasses posing against a yellow wall

The Consumers Behind Fashion’s Growing Secondhand Market

The Global Secondhand Market is Predicted to Have a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 15% to 20% Over the Next Five Years

PARISVestiaire Collective, the leading global community platform for desirable preowned fashion, and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) have partnered for the second year running to study the evolving dynamics of the global resale market. This year’s survey, The Consumers Behind Fashion’s Growing Secondhand Market, of 7,000 individuals from six countries, reveals the diverse customer attitudes and behaviors of its respondents, the growing importance of sustainability—among other factors—in driving the resale boom, and some of the ways luxury brands can benefit from the growing resale market.

The resale market is currently estimated to be worth $30 billion to $40 billion, with the market predicted to have a CAGR of 15% to 20% globally over the next five years, and even higher in developed markets, which could see a 100% YoY growth. The expansion is being driven by an increase in the number of customers starting to buy secondhand and by the number of secondhand pieces consumers are purchasing. Combined, these developments are leading to a share of secondhand clothing in people’s closets that is predicted to grow from 21% in 2020 to 27% in 2023.

Accelerated Consumer Trends

Although affordability, selection availability, and item uniqueness have contributed to the growing popularity of the secondhand market, the survey reveals that consumers’ mounting environmental concerns are also a factor in the market’s growth. This shift has been accelerated by the pandemic, with 70% of respondents in 2020 saying they feel compelled to shop for preowned goods in an effort to become more sustainable, compared with 62% in 2018.

A Thriving Secondhand Market Drives Sustainable Consumption

The survey also reveals shoppers’ desires: to own fewer, better pieces; to reduce overconsumption; and to take better care of what’s in their closets. The presence of a thriving preowned market encourages all three goals.

  • The Upscale Effect: 85% of preowned buyers participate to reduce overconsumption by trading up fast fashion to fewer, higher-quality, longer-lasting items.
  • The Durability Boost: 70% of fashion consumers say that the existence of a secondhand market encourages them to take better care of the items they own.
  • The Circular Life Cycle: 60% of sellers would have not given a second life to their pieces without the secondhand market.

Customer Segmentation is Key to Understanding Engagement in the Secondhand Market

Looking beyond general preferences, the report also identifies six consumer segments, each with distinct attitudes and behaviors, representing the various ways in which participants engage with the secondhand market. The analysis offers valuable insights to help brands better understand the shoppers of today and tomorrow, which will also be useful in recognizing how secondhand consumers may evolve from occasional shoppers of luxury items, for example, to full-fledged brand loyalists.

Luxury Brands Benefit from a Healthy Secondhand Market

There are many ways luxury brands can capture value from the preowned boom, bearing in mind that more than 62% of respondents said they would be more willing to buy from fashion brands that partner with secondhand players. Potential benefits include:

  • The ability to respond to growing consumer desire for purpose-led organizations, as 60% of consumers want to buy from companies of this type.
  • Customer acquisition, considering that consumers discover brands through secondhand shopping. Among those surveyed, 48% purchased a brand that was new to them through secondhand channels in the past year and would consider buying the same brand again.
  • Customer loyalty, because the secondhand market represents an opportunity to get sellers to buy additional items with the money they earn from their sales; 31% of market participants operate this way.

With 69% of consumers willing to purchase more secondhand pieces in the future, the preowned market looks poised to address consumers' growing desire for wardrobes that are unique, of good value, and sustainable.

To learn more about the growing secondhand market—and the wide-ranging motivations of its participants— download the full report at vestiairecollective.com or bcg.com.

For further press enquiries please contact:

Vestiaire Collective: PR@vestiairecollective.com
Boston Consulting Group (BCG): Marcus Liem at liem.marcus@bcg.com

About Vestiaire Collective

Vestiaire Collective is the leading global platform for desirable pre-owned fashion. It is dedicated to promoting the circular fashion movement as an alternative to the wasteful and harmful practices of the fast-fashion industry. Curated by its trusted community of fashion activists, members inspire one another whilst selling and buying unique pieces from each other's wardrobes. Encouraging consumers to join the circular economy and adopt a more conscious approach to fashion consumption, the platform is unique due to its highly engaged community, its rare desirable inventory, and high level of trust it has built due to its authenticity and quality control process. Launched in Paris in October 2009, Vestiairecollective.com has over 10 million members worldwide with offices in Paris, London, New York, Milan, Berlin, and Hong Kong. Over 70,000 new items are submitted by its community of sellers every week, which enables buyers to search amongst highly coveted and sold out fashion pieces @vestiaireco.

About Boston Consulting Group

Boston Consulting Group partners with leaders in business and society to tackle their most important challenges and capture their greatest opportunities. BCG was the pioneer in business strategy when it was founded in 1963. Today, we work closely with clients to embrace a transformational approach aimed at benefiting all stakeholders—empowering organizations to grow, build sustainable competitive advantage, and drive positive societal impact.
Our diverse, global teams bring deep industry and functional expertise and a range of perspectives that question the status quo and spark change. BCG delivers solutions through leading-edge management consulting, technology and design, and corporate and digital ventures. We work in a uniquely collaborative model across the firm and throughout all levels of the client organization, fueled by the goal of helping our clients thrive and enabling them to make the world a better place.