Retail

Recycle, Repurpose Apparel Market Reaches $2B

Buying secondhand apparel isn’t a new idea. For years, there have been consignment stores, like Goodwill and the Salvation Army, where people drop off old clothes for others to buy at a cheaper price down the road.

However, over the past decade or so, there’s been an uptick in the amount of startups joining the use, recycle and repurpose apparel industry. This may be likely due to the big recession back in 2008. Rather than spend upwards of $80 for a single pair of jeans, people are going to their local secondhand stores to find the same brand of jeans for $20.

With companies like Poshmark, Vinted and ThreadUP joining the secondhand store arena in the online world, selling and buying used apparel at any price point has become much easier. Since 2013, the online clothes resale market has doubled to $2 billion, according to research from PrivCo.

As of late, these online resellers have taken it up a notch by adding smartphone apps to help expedite the used clothes buying and selling process. The Wall Street Journal quoted Poshmark’s CEO, Manish Chandra, who said, “Young girls are going online to look for fashion advice and share styles with friends. We built our app as a social network for that reason and made it super simple for teens to ship items and process payments.”

Young teens have become the target audience for these online reselling platforms. Given that teens will likely want to wear something that nobody else is wearing at their school, this isn’t surprising. According to research firm Cassandra, while 35 percent of teens ages 14 to 19 shop at stores like Abercrombie and J. Crew, 36 percent were found to have used online resale platforms for clothes and furniture.

As these resale platforms continue to grow, an older demographic might embrace the online secondhand clothes idea. For now, it remains in the hands of the fashion-savvy teens of the country.

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