While nothing is inherently new about selling used clothes, the projected growth rate of 15 per cent annually over the next five years announces a growing trend within the apparel industry. Clothing brands are turning to re-commerce partners to tap into secondary markets for apparels. International trade is not only about new products. A wide variety of used or refurbished consumer and capital goods are also sold on international markets in the clothing sector. The second-hand clothing market is growing and becoming bigger every year. More than 70 per cent of the world's population uses second hand clothing. The average lifetime of a cloth is approximately three years. And nearly 100 per cent of textiles and clothing are recyclable. There is more demand now for quality second hand clothes around the world. Given the significant environmental impact of fashion and apparel industry in general, and fast fashion in particular, the implications of these facts could be significant.

At present the second-hand apparel retail is a $20-billion industry globally and its significant growth will outpace traditional retail, which has only 2 per cent projected annual growth, according to ThredUp's 2018 Resale Report. Given that second hand clothing sales exist regardless of whether brands approve, the opportunity is obvious. Brands can make a margin on selling the same garment multiple times while maintaining brand and quality control. Hence the trend where many online stores offer platform for potential buyers of second-hand clothes will continue to exist.

The consumption market of second-hand clothes touches 4 billion with major stakeholders coming from Asia (26 per cent), Africa (35 per cent) and Europe (27 per cent) and the rest of the world nations sharing the rest. As per a BBC analysis of data received from a United Nations report shown below, the global export market for worn and used clothing is about $4 billion and the import/export business of used clothing has not seen much improvement over the past few years, both in terms of volume and value.

The United States ($575.5 million) and Italy ($118.6 million) are among the leading exporters of used clothing globally whereas African nations like Uganda ($72.3 million) and a few Asian nations like Pakistan ($239.5 million) are among the leading importers of second-hand clothing.

At present only apparel segment shares the pie part of whopping 41 per cent from the resale segment and it is expected to grow 24 times faster than fresh retail sale. Thus, resale is capturing market share and the global resale market for apparel will reach $41 billion by 2022, according to threadup.com.