Industry Statistics & Trends

Resale or retail? Can you tell the difference? Probably not! Today’s resale shops look the same as mainstream retailers... except for one big difference—they sell high quality goods at lower prices! The resale industry offers "Quality at a Savings!"

While many businesses close their doors every day, resale remains healthy and continues to be one of the fastest growing segments of retail. With new stores entering the industry and current establishments opening additional locations, the industry has experienced a growth—in number of stores—of approximately 7% a year for the past two years. This percentage reflects the estimated number of new stores opening each year, minus the businesses that close. NARTS is proud to say that future owners who look to the Association for education prior to opening, then continue their education through NARTS membership and meetings, are very successful. Many resale shops don't survive that crucial first year because the owners did not do their "homework" and had no idea where to begin or what to expect. There are currently more than 25,000 resale, consignment and Not For Profit resale shops in the United States.

Resale is a multi-billion dollar a year industry.  There is a major discrepancy on annual revenues reported for the U.S. resale industry.  First Research estimates the resale industry in the U.S. to have annual revenues of approximately $17.5 billion including revenue from antique stores which are 13% of their statistics. ThredUP, an online resale marketplace, pegs the total resale market in 2018 at $24 billion ... predicting it will reach $64 billion by 2028.  The RealReal, a luxury consignment site, reported revenues of $207 million in 2018 and estimates 2020 revenues of $406 million and 2022 revenues of $700 million. In a Barron's article, Cowen retail analyst Oliver Chen estimates that The RealReal has a 14% share of the growing $7 billion U.S. market. Goodwill Industries alone generated $5.9 billion in retail sales from more than 3,000 Not For Profit resale stores and online sales in 2017.  Crossroads Trading Co., based in Berkeley, CA, rang up over $60 million in sales  in 2018.  They have 37 locations, and over 300 employees and plan to add additional locations. Buffalo Exchange reported $87 million in sales in 2017 according to V.P. Rebecca Block in an article.  Add to this the many thousands of single location shops, hundreds of multi-location chains, franchises and Not For Profit stores and you begin to realize the vast scope of this continually growing industry.  

Resale shopping attracts consumers from all economic levels. There is no typical resale shopper, just as there is no typical resale shop. No one is immune to the excitement of finding a treasure and saving money. Shrewd shoppers take advantage of the opportunity resale offers to save money on apparel, furniture and other consumer goods. These savings can add quality to life when used for vacations, entertainment, funding college and retirement accounts, and expanding family activities.

According to America’s Research Group, a consumer research firm, about 16 - 18% of Americans will shop at a thrift store during a given year. For consignment/resale shops, it’s about 12 - 15%. To keep these figures in perspective, consider that during the same time frame; 11.4% of Americans shop in factory outlet malls, 19.6% in apparel stores and 21.3% in major department stores.

Resale has become destination shopping with the recent industry trend of clustering. Many areas are seeing resale stores opening in close proximity to each other, taking advantage of existing traffic. Antique shops have clustered for years and factory outlet stores are grouped together, proving that consumers will  travel farther to reach a group of like stores. Resalers love to make an event out of shopping in an area where they can visit a variety of resale stores with different merchandise lines.

The resale market is blossoming thanks to value and sustainable conscious consumers. As concerns over the environmental impact of fast fashion increase, consumers recognize the inherent sustainability factor of shopping resale. With an increasing awareness of the importance of reducing pointless waste, we are progressing from a disposable society to a recycling society—a change that has enormous market potential for the resale industry as a whole. After all, "Resale is the ultimate in recycling!"