According to a new report from ThredUp, millennials and Gen-Z consumers are demanding more sustainable products and would rather dig for gems in vintage shops than purchase from giant retail chains, which are increasingly criticized for generating colossal amounts of material waste and failing to offer safe working conditions.
According to ThredUp, 40 percent of thrifters are replacing fast-fashion purchases in favor of vintage and used clothing. In fact, the secondhand-seller market is projected to overthrow the fast-fashion industry, with second-hand clothing and resale expected to be twice as large as fast-fashion by 2030, leaving chains like H&M and Zara in the dust.
The shift has been accelerated by the pandemic, as many consumers lost their financial security and had to be more economical about their shopping habits. The report also found that 36 million people sold pieces from their own closets for the first time in 2020, while 33 million shoppers made their first second-hand clothing purchase.
Per the report, 223 million shoppers are open to buying second-hand in the future, and overall, 60 percent of consumers have said that they are warier of wasting money now than they were before the pandemic hit. Since it doesn’t seem as though the pro-thrifting attitude is going to fade, the vintage market is forecasted to be worth $77 billion in the next five years.
Fortunately for the well-being of our environment, this means that traditional, brand-name retailers will be forced to adapt. Almost 24,000 retailers surveyed are open to putting second-hand items on their shelves, and almost half of executives say resale will play a big role in their business plans for the coming years.
The clothing industry is already starting to transform. More sustainable brands are being launched than ever before, and other known retailers are incorporating third-party sellers on their websites to create an Amazon-style online marketplace. So, it looks like the death of fast-fashion approaches—but it’s certainly not a loss we will mourn.