According to the World Economic Forum, the secondhand clothing industry’s market value will hit fifty-one billion dollars by 2029. Data from the 2023 report of TreadUp reveal that the global used clothing market is expected to sustain high growth rates. The report predicts that the market size for secondhand clothes will double in a span of just four years.
Thus it would not be wrong to say that the used clothing industry is witnessing a major boom which is not expected to die out anytime soon.
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Why The Used Clothing Industry Is Witnessing Global Acceptance
It is rare for any industry to gain acceptance from both the global north and south at the same time. However, the used clothes industry is an exception.
Countries like the US, China, Ghana, and Pakistan are all equally enthusiastic about the development of the used clothing industry. There are several reasons for the used clothing industry to gain such widespread acceptance, which are discussed in this blog post.
High Affordability Of Used Clothes
A prime factor affecting a consumer’s decision to purchase a product is its price. So it is no wonder that the demand for secondhand clothes is high.
A secondhand dress can cost as less as ten percent of the firsthand garment. Thus it makes economic sense for a consumer to buy used clothes as he can get more for less.
Creating A Personal Sense Of Style
A rather unconventional reason why old clothes are popular is because they allow people to have a personal sense of style. If you want to mix and match clothes that belong to the bygone era, an old clothes store is your best bet. From cowboy hats to bell-bottom pants to floral frocks, you will get spoiled for choices when you visit a secondhand clothing store.
Ease Of Availability
Buyers do not like it when they have to put in a lot of effort to buy a dress. They like it when they can get what they want in the shortest time. There was a time when old clothes were sold in thrift stores or garage sales. But now the times have changed, and you can get second-hand clothes from wholesale stores. Apart from wholesale stores, used clothes can also be found at online shops, and these clothes are literally a click away.
Growing Consciousness About Environmental Effects
There is a universal consensus about the need to protect the environment and the scarce natural resources. Today youngsters realize the impact of lifestyle choices on the environment. So there is a concerted effort to move away from fast fashion. Thus with the fall in demand in fast fashion, there is a concomitant rise in the demand in the secondhand clothing industry.
Filling The Gap In Developing Countries
At a time when the markets are overflowing with new machine-made clothes every single day, there are countries where people still do not have clothes to wear. Secondhand clothes fulfill a gap in those countries where there are a large number of people who still cannot afford new clothes. Large-scale import from countries like the US fills the gaps in African and Asian nations where a large section of society still cannot afford brand-new clothes.
Sustained Efforts By Major Fashion Brands
The growing consciousness about the harmful impact of fast fashion on the environment has impacted not only the consumers but also the big manufacturers. Hence, fashion brands have taken major sustainability-driven measures to gain wider acceptability in an environment-friendly world.
Brands like Hermes have a buy-back offer. If someone has used a Hermes product and wants to throw it away, he can just replace it. Thus, instead of dumping a Hermes bag in a landfill, you can go to a Hermes store and exchange it and get a lucrative discount for your next purchase.
Efforts By Governments To Promote Sustainable Life Choices
With the adoption of SDGs or sustainable development goals by the United Nations, all countries have made concerted efforts to promote environment-friendly living. Several schemes and policies have been implemented which have compelled people to live a life that does minimum harm to the planet and its resources. And reuse of old clothes is a significant move towards saving natural resources.
There are several reasons why the used clothes industry has flourished. The used clothes industry has witnessed unprecedented growth as it gives an affordable option to buy clothes that also caters to their fashion sense.
Widespread awareness and concerted efforts from all stakeholders, like the government, major manufacturers, and consumers, have sustained the demand for used clothes. Factors that promote the growth of used clothes, like scarcity of affordable clothes, are not going to abate anytime soon. So it would only be fair to expect the used clothing industry to flourish and gain greater market share in the short and long term.