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Secondhand Shopping Is About to Blow Up

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Secondhand clothing store rack Getty Images

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The clothing resale market was worth $18 billion last year. By 2021, it could hit $33 billion.

It’s a bright spot in a shopping environment that’s clobbering traditional mall retailers, many of which have closed stores or gone bankrupt this year. According to a report released by the research firm Fung Global Retail & Technology, secondhand marketplaces are actually growing 20 times faster than retailers overall and five times faster than off-price chains like T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. Even millionaires are eagerly snapping up other people’s castoffs.

Those off-price stores have definitely been stealing customers away from department stores, because many shoppers won’t buy clothing or accessories without a discount these days. But Fung Global Retail suggests that resale sites and apps could in turn take a bite out of those off-price retailers’ sales simply because they have limited or nonexistent e-commerce presences. The homepage of Ross Stores, for instance, directs visitors to look up a store near them.

With Amazon leading the charge, online shopping is where it’s at, and if the clothing you find online is cheap, environmentally friendly, and unique, all the better.