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Is Now the Tipping Point for the $24 Billion Resale Industry?

After decades of steady momentum, a sound argument can be made for resale having reached a point of maturity.

As of 2018, the industry was valued at $24 billion, and experts predict it will grow to $64 billion by 2028.

The past few years have demonstrated rapid growth for the resale fashion sector, in particular. According to research from retail analytics firm GlobalData, the fashion resale market has grown 21 times more rapidly than its traditional retail counterpart since 2016.

It’s a far cry from the roots of resale business in the United States. Citing historian Jennifer Le Zotte’s work “From Goodwill to Grunge: A History of Secondhand Styles and Alternative Economies,” a recent Time Magazine article mapped out the progression of secondhand goods and thrift stores from the Industrial Revolution to today.

Resale Makes the Transition to Mainstream Acceptance

Initially, there was a stigma attached to wearing previously used clothing, and the mass production of goods, including apparel, gave consumers the impression that clothing was disposable. Eventually, the stigma faded as an increasing number of people sought out “vintage” finds in thrift stores, and companies realized there was a significant business opportunity in resale.


Fast-forward to today, and resale shops like Plato’s Closet® and Style Encore® have spread across the U.S., cultivating a reputation for on-trend fashion, unique customer experience and substantial discounts – especially when compared to the original retail prices shoppers would find at brand-name stores. And the momentum resale has built is putting it on track to outstrip the fast fashion industry, much to the relief of those worried about the apparel industry’s environmental impact.

Needless to say, the resale market has matured to a point where consumers see shopping for gently used goods as mainstream. They’re able to find the same fashions they seek out at brand-name retailers – but at a highly discounted cost.

The newest generations of shoppers also show strong interest in supporting brands that promote sustainability and recycling, further surging the popularity of resale.

Disrupting the Retail, Resale Models

Potentially, the biggest differentiator for resale brands like Once Upon A Child®, Play It Again Sports® and the other Winmark franchise brands, is that customers are able to make money on the spot by selling their own items – tapping into a cultural phenomenon tied to the “on-demand” economy that’s been widely-adopted across the U.S.


In the way Uber disrupted the traditional model for rental cars and taxi drivers, the Winmark resale franchise concepts flip the traditional retail model by giving consumers the chance to not only be buyers, but also suppliers for resale store inventory.

The story Uber tells is that the company has made it possible for anyone to make money on the side from something they already own – their vehicle – and for services that are always in demand. Similarly, buy-and-sell resale concepts give consumers the opportunity to make money with items they already own and for products that are in demand – in a much different way than, say, consignment shops.

A Differentiated Resale Business Model

Winmark resale shops serve multiple purposes, blending pragmatism with convenience, satisfying consumers’ wants and adhering to their values.

For brands like Style Encore and Plato’s Closet, customers are able to purchase and sell current apparel and fashion accessories, allowing them to update their wardrobes at a fraction of retail costs.

Unlike traditional retail, the resale model accounts for the provisional nature of certain goods, like kids’ clothing and extracurricular equipment that’s quickly outgrown, outdated or out-worn.

For example, Play It Again Sports and Music Go Round stock the latest in sports and musical equipment and gear, but they also give busy and financially savvy families the chance to trade in and trade up for products they’ll often need for only a short time.


Similarly, Once Upon A Child stores satisfy a need that parents know only too well – consistently replenishing the dressers of their infants and small children with the appropriate sizes while also wanting to keep their kids up to date with modern fashion trends.

Ultimately, resale businesses give consumers the opportunity to see their gently used items as valuable goods they can earn a percentage of revenue from after their initial purchase. And, in turn, these stores provide customers with the satisfaction of knowing they’re making a positive impact on the environment.

Are you ready to become part of the rapidly growing resale industry? Contact us today to learn more about franchising with Winmark brands.