Retail Trends

The ReCommerce Revolution: a $350 billion market by 2028 in apparel alone

3 min read

With retailers’ profits being squeezed by challenges such as lower customer spending, shrinkage, and rising operational costs, it’s clear that ReCommerce represents a massive growth opportunity to improve net profit margin and raise profitability through unified commerce execution.

According to the 2024 Resale Report by ThredUp, the global secondhand apparel market is set to reach $350 billion by 2028, growing 3X faster than the overall global apparel market. The U.S. market is expected to reach $73 billion.  

The ThredUp study provides some interesting figures:

  • Resale grew 15X faster than the broader retail clothing sector in 2023.
  • Online resale saw accelerated growth in 2023, growing at 23% faster than in 2022.
  • Online resale will account for half of all secondhand spend by 2025.

Why this revolution now

According to research by Cross-Border Commerce Europe, 76% of online shoppers think that the stigma around second-hand shopping has decreased. According to 41%, buying second-hand has even become a status symbol. This demonstrates that the image of the ReCommerce market continues to improve.

This is driven not only by recent economic challenges, but also by the desire of millennials and Gen Z customers to spend in a more environmentally friendly manner. According to GlobalScan, a research and advising business, 74% of global customers buy secondhand products. The most popular categories are apparel, electronics, and home goods. All types of large brands are entering the market.

To avoid losing traffic, improve customer loyalty, and acquire new customers, an increasing number of retailers are engaging in recommerce-related activities. These include resale, renting, repairing and refurbishing, upcycling, and recycling products, as well as using external services like secondhand inventory curation.

How can retailers attain success in ReCommerce?

According to Gartner (1), ReCommerce success is built on trust, a unified commerce experience, and profitability.

  • Owning and managing the customer and brand experience leads to increased trust. When clients are exposed to a brand through ReCommerce, their perception of brand quality may be affected. When working with third parties on operational execution, strong brand compliance across all customer touchpoints is crucial.
  • A unified commerce experience is essential to the modern retail business strategy. Stand-alone microsites offering ReCommerce services may prevent consumers from getting a consistent view of the retailer’s entire offering.
  • Understanding the execution variables for each ReCommerce business model, as well as the consequences for inventory planning, helps to achieve profitability. To make ReCommerce a viable commercial venture, it is necessary to carefully forecast demand and supply, model customer interaction and experience, and create a solid roadmap.

Next steps for retail product leaders and retail CIOs

Retailers that want to capitalize on the benefits of ReCommerce will need to work in a business case and to invest in different initiatives:

  • Identify applicable ReCommerce use cases that provide the greatest value for business goals.
  • Evaluate the upfront costs and benefits of the various emerging business models.
  • Evaluate the adoption of new unified commerce technologies that can give the flexibility needed to enable new ReCommerce client journeys.
  • Invest in integrations for inventory sources, store and online inventory management, as well as robust ReCommerce, warehouse and logistics management capabilities depending on the ReCommerce model.



(1) Top Retail CIO Industry Trends for Increasing Customer Centricity in 2024,  10 January 2024, by By Tom Nolan, Kelsie Marian, Max Panther Hammond, Robert Hetu, Jonathan Kutner, Hanna Karki, Sandeep Unni, Mim Burt (only accessible to Gartner clients).