Shopping for secondhand clothing is not a new concept. Thrifting and reselling apparel has long been a habit for cost-conscious consumers. However, recent events have helped catapult resale into the mainstream, fostering growth and paving the way for new avenues in the resale clothing industry.
Despite its many negative effects, the COVID-19 pandemic may have created at least one benefit for resale apparel stores like Uptown Cheapskate. Check out the impact the pandemic had on resale and how franchise owners can take advantage of growth in this new era of fashion sales.
How COVID-19 bolstered the resale industry
It’s no surprise consumer spending drops in periods of economic uncertainty. Alongside a global health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic also caused a national recession. Budgets were tighter, meaning everyone from teens to seniors had less money to spend on themselves. Understandably, shoppers were more keen to hunt for bargains and buy discounted items to stretch their dollars further.
The resale clothing industry benefitted from this wave of newly cost-conscious shoppers. Resale platforms and stores like Uptown Cheapskate already offering high-quality, used garments at low prices attracted new buyers and sellers. According to thredUp’s 2021 Resale Report, 33 million consumers bought secondhand apparel for the first time in 2020. It’s clear resale won a majority of those shoppers over! The report states that 76% of those first-time buyers plan to increase their spend on secondhand in the next five years.
These new secondhand buyers buoyed an already growing resale clothing industry. In 2013, the secondhand fashion industry was worth $5 billion. It now totals $36 billion globally and is expected to hit $77 billion by 2025. The market for used clothing is growing quickly, and there’s no question pandemic-era shoppers are contributing to that scale.
Sellers are also a huge contributor to the pandemic-era resale craze. Stuck at home and short on cash, people were able to clean out their closets and sell clothing they no longer wanted. New items flooded the resale market online and in stores. In 2020, 36.2 million people sold resale clothing for the first time. Of course, with more great items available, people who had never tried resale were incentivized to check it out, potentially buying and selling, themselves.
Uptown Cheapskate targets post-pandemic shoppers
Pandemic restrictions have been lifted, and the world is settling into a new normal. Not surprisingly, resale clothing has not gone out of style! Customers have continued to frequent resale apps and stores for the numerous benefits the industry offers. This is fantastic news for Uptown Cheapskate’s secondhand clothing franchise. Now, our owners get the opportunity to attract and retain customers who likely picked up a resale habit over the past two years.
There are a few major reasons why resale franchises are expected to thrive in the post-COVID-19 landscape. These mainly have to do with who is shopping for resale clothing and why they choose resale over retail.
- Sustainability is a core focus: The pandemic gave buyers time to re-evaluate their values and concerns on all things, including fashion. The fashion industry is one of the leading global polluters, and more customers than ever before are paying attention to how their clothing choices affect the planet. According to the thredUp report, 1 in 3 consumers care more about wearing sustainable apparel than they did before the pandemic. Resale is inherently sustainable because it’s circulating used clothing rather than promoting the sale and discarding of new items.
- Affordability is still important: Even though the economy is rebounding since the height of the pandemic, shoppers are still being selective about their purchases. Finding value is still important as younger buyers, in particular, watch their budgets. Resale clothing is usually found at a much lower price point than clothing in traditional retail stores. On top of that, resale shops like Uptown Cheapskate give consumers the ability to earn money by selling used clothing, making the industry more appealing.
- Young shoppers continue to drive growth: Millennial and Generation Z are at the head of the resale shopping movement. These young shoppers are more likely to care about sustainable and affordable apparel, and many were already open to the idea of secondhand clothing before the pandemic. These younger generations continue to turn to resale to find in-style items matching their values and allowing them to express themselves creatively.
- Resale is trendy now: The old idea of secondhand shopping is dead. Gone are the bargain bins, and in come upscale stores and platforms where shoppers feel comfortable and trendy. This “new face” of resale shopping has been a huge draw for younger buyers who want the feel of traditional retail without the high costs.
The resale clothing industry was already on track for tremendous growth, but the pandemic pushed it further into the mainstream for younger, cost- and eco-conscious customers. Now, brands like Uptown Cheapskate have fantastic opportunities to capitalize on these trends and make themselves a household name.
Does owning your own secondhand clothing store sound appealing? Request more information about our franchise opportunity and get ready to join a thriving market