• 3 in 10 millennials have shopped second-hand in the last year
• The average woman owns at least £2,400 worth of unused clothes
• Using resale websites exclusively for one year could save you £1,652
• 50% of millennials would consider the resale value before they purchase an item.
• The rise of minimalism: women bought on average 37 items in 2016, compared to 51 in
In the face of economic austerity, more and more women are looking to fashion to empower them
financially. There has been a rise in ‘closet entrepreneurs’, or women who have joined the resale
revolution and are selling their pre-loved clothes online. Research by online marketplace
OnBuy.com, who has compiled data taken from fashion resale websites, google trends and retail
reports, has revealed that there is certainly money to be made.
The average woman has at least £2,400 worth of clothes that hang in her wardrobe untouched.
With some resale websites suggesting that women have as many as 19 items ready to sell at any
one time. The industry as a whole has an estimated worth of £14 billion, and is expected to reach
£25.6 billion by 2021.
But it is not just finance that is persuading women to buy less and sell more. Trends in fashion are
also leaning towards minimalism. Studies show that women bought on average 37 items in 2016,
compared to 51 in 1996. The increasing interest in minimalism and capsule wardrobes (which
garners 60,500 google searches a month) demonstrates the desire to cut back on clothing
splurges and curate the perfect closet. Lifestyle and fashion vloggers have even addressed the
topic, with around 203,000 YouTube videos dedicated to the subject.
A rise in peer-to-peer marketplaces online would suggest that we are taking to the internet to
offload our old outfits. 49% of the resale market is taken up by clothing, accessories and
A study by clothing resale website thredUP revealed that if you shopped second-hand
exclusively for one year, you could save a staggering £1,652. Add this to the £2,400 worth of
saleable clothes you have in your wardrobe and you could end up with a beautifully minimal and
carefully chosen closet, as well as £4,000 in the bank.
However, becoming a successful closet entrepreneur takes a little insider know-how, with
importance placed on understanding demand. Poshmark, a mobile marketplace for fashion, has
suggested that the most popular brands for reselling are:
• Michael Kors
• Kate Spade
• Tory Burch
But the rise in reselling couldn’t exist without a simultaneous increase in second-hand shoppers.
30% of millennials have shopped second-hand in the past 12 months, and 21% say they intend to. The fact that many of the most popular brands on resale websites lie firmly in the
luxury clothing sector reveals a lot about who these second-hand shoppers are. Research reveals
that 2017 has seen an increase in so-called ‘high-income thrifters’, who are 35% more likely
to try used clothing websites than low-income shoppers.
With this sort of user base, it’s time to upload your unwanted wardrobe pieces. But make sure
you do not price yourself out, as 88% of second-hand shoppers admit they do so ‘for the thrill of
Tips for reselling clothes and accessories online:
• Offer discounts: 94% of women say they rarely buy clothing that’s not on sale
• Make sure you take nice photos: take photos with you in the clothes so a buyer can get
a feel for what they will look like on them
• Get social: 39% of consumers said that social networks provide their main inspiration
for purchases, so make sure you are up-to-date with Instagram trends, and even
promote your online resale store on your social media channels.
• Keep an eye out for trends: The brands with the best resale value are Michael Kors,
Kate Spade and Tory Burch among others. In general, designer labels less than 2 years
old can make you the most money.
• Be honest: make sure you make a potential buyer aware of any wear and tear,
otherwise you could risk getting your account suspended because of a disgruntled
• Sell activewear: Last year, gym and sportswear was the fastest growing category of
clothing, probably to meet growing demand for fashionable fitness ensembles.
• Put clothes on at the right time: Research revealed that most second-hand thrifters
shop between 9pm and 10pm.