44% of consumers want government to encourage sustainable fashion: survey

ThredUp is an online consignment and thrift store. It has partnerships with retailers, including Walmart.


Second-hand clothes have gained popularity among shoppers and now some want the government to give them a boost.

Almost half of consumers – 44% – think the government should promote a more sustainable approach to fashion, such as offering tax breaks to brands or buyers who buy second-hand clothes, according to a new survey of 3 500 adults by consulting firm GlobalData in a report commissioned by online resale site ThredUp.

The report’s findings reflect buyers’ commitment to social issues, from racial equity to climate change, and the desire to see politicians and businesses engaged as well. It may also indicate that more and more people have become accustomed to public policies as a tool that pushes consumers to adopt environmentally friendly habits.

ThredUp President Anthony Marino said initiatives like plastic bag fees and electric vehicle tax credits have paved the way for the apparel industry to become the next frontier. And, he said, the pandemic has raised awareness among consumers about their own environmental impact and their desire to reduce waste.

“When a virus that comes from a city in a part of the world that you’ve never heard of before, you start to see that things are pretty closely related,” he said.

Over the past year, he said people were stuck at home and noticed the huge amount of clothes, shoes and other items piling up or piling in the drawers. This has inspired some to start selling slightly used items or become more intentional about what they are buying, he said.

“Our wardrobe is not too far away, so it’s obvious that the excess of stuff is surrounding us,” he said. Plus, he said, people looked at the budget during the recession and found they could stretch their dollars or earn extra income with resale.

Resale has become a growing part of retail as young consumers seek branded, yet wallet-friendly options and companies like ThredUp and Poshmark are sifting a touch of e-commerce sifting from the shelves in a garage sale or a thrift store. The resale market is expected to more than double over the next five years, growing from a $ 36 billion industry in 2021 to a $ 77 billion industry in 2025, according to a study by GlobalData. That’s a growth rate that is 11 times faster than the larger retail clothing industry, he found.

ThredUp went public in March and has deals with more than a dozen retailers, including Walmart, that have added resale items to company websites or become places where customers can drop off clothes at. to sell. On Tuesday, its shares closed at $ 25.88, or about 85% above its price of $ 14 on the day of its IPO, giving it a market value of $ 2.35 billion. Its competitor, Poshmark, also went public earlier this year. Poshmark’s shares closed at $ 45.88, giving it a market cap of $ 3.47 billion.

According to the survey by GlobalData and ThredUp, 33 million consumers bought second-hand clothes for the first time last year, and 76% of those first-time buyers plan to increase their spending on second-hand clothes over the years. next five years.

This could potentially increase if the government squeezes regulations or incentives, according to the survey. Fifty-eight percent of retail executives say they would be more likely to test resale if it came with financial incentives, and 47% of consumers said they would be more likely to purchase clothing from opportunity if they could avoid sales tax or qualify for a tax credit.

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