3 minutes

Consumers turn to secondhand goods for financial and environmental reasons to avoid waste and extra spending.

Secondhand sales and buyback programs are increasingly a potential source of revenue for online retailers. Secondhand retail continues to make headway with consumers. Sales in 2022 amounted to $177 billion, according to ThredUp’s 2023 resale report. The report also projects the secondhand industry will nearly double to $351 billion in global sales by 2027. 

In 2023, children’s clothing retailer Hanna Andersson and apparel retailer H&M both launched resale platforms to recirculate previously owned clothing. 

Consumers are looking toward resale as an ecommerce shopping option, particularly as they try to cut costs. Retailers across categories in the Top 1000 sell secondhand items. The Top 1000 is Digital Commerce 360’s ranking of the top online retailers in North America by web sales. 

Consumer electronics retailers in the Top 1000 are the most likely to sell secondhand products, at 28.0%, followed by toy and hobby retailers at 20.8%. Just 6.1% of apparel and accessories retailers sell secondhand goods.

“While many Top 1000 retailers offer used goods, apparel retailers offering used goods are the ones showing strong growth,” says James Risley, research data manager and senior analyst at Digital Commerce 360. “Not only is the fastest-growing Top 1000 retailer a seller of used goods exclusively, but many up-and-coming Next 1000 retailers also offer used goods to capitalize on shoppers looking for deals on clothing without turning to fast fashion,” he says.


Online resale retailer ThredUp Inc. reported increases in revenue and total orders in its second fiscal quarter ended June 30. ThredUp CEO James Reinhart said the brand was making gains with customers who are “feeling the pinch across their discretionary purchasing power” due to economic trends. ThredUp’s web sales grew 72.6% in 2022. 

Consumers choose secondhand retail for environmental reasons

Customers are increasingly interested in the environmental impacts of their purchases, driving some to buy used and prioritize brands with eco-friendly policies. 43% of shoppers called sustainability a deciding factor in what they buy, according to luxury goods resale marketplace The RealReal’s 2022 Luxury Resale Report, which measured data from 28 million of its shoppers between January 2022 and June 2022 compared with the same period in 2021.

Some online shoppers choose secondhand goods over new fast fashion items to be more sustainable. “Fast fashion can be seen as not environmentally friendly and more wasteful, the opposite of buying things used,” Risley says.

The RealReal ranks No. 460 in the Top 1000, and ThredUp is No. 577.


Do you rank in our database?

Submit your data and we’ll see where you fit in our next ranking update.

Sign up

Stay on top of the latest developments in the ecommerce industry. Sign up for a complimentary subscription to Digital Commerce 360 Retail NewsFollow us on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook. Be the first to know when Digital Commerce 360 publishes news content.