Buying used clothing was once associated only with cost-cutting measures and generally involved thrift stores and garage sales. The emphasis was on low prices, and quality rarely entered into the picture. The dynamic on clothing resales has totally flipped, and the emphasis is now on buying quality clothing for lower prices, often through reputable online vendors and higher-end resale retailers. This shift allows smart shoppers to own luxury items, including designer clothing, without wrecking their budget. Resale is, indeed, becoming the new normal for a substantial part of the population.
According to the ThredUp 2018 Resale report, more people, particularly women, are buying secondhand now than ever before. In fact, 2017 saw two out of three women purchase some resale items. Of those new customers placing orders from ThredUp, 70% were buying resale for the first time. And the resale industry doesn't only include clothing; consumers are looking to buy quality used items of all sorts, from refrigerators to computers to furniture.
The longer-term picture also looks promising. By 2022, the resale market is expected to reach $41 billion. This move toward resale items is led by customers who want to buy better brands for less money, the ThredUp data shows. Sixty-six percent of resale shoppers said they want to purchase luxury brands without paying the full retail price.
Like any "new" industry, resale vendors have their challenges. Customers do have to be vigilant about the quality of these items and purchase from reputable businesses that have a fair return policy. Another major issue is authenticity.
Fake merchandise is a problem for anyone who sells luxury items, and the market for fakes is thriving. Resalers have to deal with the same issue because the fake items that were purchased new are often re-cycled right back into the market. Unless a seller has the skills (and ethics) to screen out suspicious items, the happy shopper who thought she scored an Armani dress instead have a knockoff from parts unknown.
Manufacturers and retailers of both new and resale items have been busy tackling the issue of authenticity. They are working to ensure they purchase their merchandise from reputable vendors, to reduce fake fashion’s contribution to labor violations, human trafficking and environmental pollution, and to advocate for stronger laws in this area.
Technology companies like Certilogo are also stepping in to help ethical buyers and sellers keep the resale market safe from fake merchandise. They work with brands like Versace to put coded tags or stickers on items that can be checked online to verify their authenticity. All discerning shoppers need to do is scan that code with a smartphone or personal computer to learn if it's the real thing. The process is fast and easy, and it protects consumers from paying inflated prices for replicas that pretend to be real. If they receive an order that turns out to be a fake, the Certilogo check returns a report that can be used to request a refund from the seller or payment provider.
The resale market is becoming the new normal, and the stigma of buying used has certainly disappeared. This generation of shoppers is interested in getting the highest quality for their money. They want to own high-end items at the best possible price. Online stores and resale shops are fulfilling this need. Security companies like Certilogo are helping them buy only authentic items, which can only improve the outlook for resale companies in the coming years.