Shein, H&M and Other Fashion Resale Programs Don’t Make Big Money

Resale has quickly emerged as the initiative of choice for fashion brands looking to lower theirs carbon, plastic and water footprints—or at least in some instances to convince green-conscious shoppers that they’re trying. But here’s the rub: So far even savvy brands such as Patagonia or Shein haven’t figured out how to make secondhand selling accounts for more than a tiny fraction of their profits.

More than 100 apparel retailers have started in-house resale platforms within the past two years, with 88 new programs last year alone, according to data from ThredUp Inc., which both operates an online thrift store business and has helped many brands set up their own resale programs. This includes some of the biggest brands, including H&M and fast-fashion champ Shein. In 2022 resale of apparel, footwear and handbags in the US was a $28.1 billion market, with potential for double-digit year-over-year growth in 2023 and 2024, according to predictions from Coresight Research.