Shopping second-hand has been a practice for decades, and can be done in many ways. Whether it’s shopping at a locally owned shop or chain stores such as Savers or Goodwill; or if you’re looking for vintage and designer pieces at consignment stores, second-hand shopping has lots of benefits. While thrift stores tend to be go-to places for people to shop at low price points out of necessity, in recent years the practice of shopping in thrift stores seems to be on the rise. Thrifted style has become a fashion statement; it’s trendy and cool to shop second-hand and take pride in second-hand finds.

According to an annual report from ThreadUp – an online thrift store – thrifting is on the rise globally. Nearly half of clothing consumers shopped second-hand at least once in 2023, and among millennials and gen Z, 2 out of every 5 clothing items they own are second-hand. It’s clear there’s a rising demand for clothing on the resale market, but why?

Saving Money

Most chain thrift stores sell clothes for much cheaper than what they would sell at retail price. According to the same report from ThreadUp, 60 percent of shoppers say that they find that second-hand stores give them the most bang for their buck when looking for clothes; 40 per cent say that when they’re looking for a good deal – second-hand is the first thing they think of. With rising costs of living globally, it’s no wonder why people are looking for a bargain wherever they can get it, especially with clothes.

Environmentally Conscious

Thrifting is a great option for anyone looking to lower their carbon footprint when it comes to their wardrobe. It’s no secret that the fast fashion industry takes a huge toll on the environment. According to a report from the United Nations Environment Programme, textile dying is one of the leading contributors to wastewater – water tainted with toxic chemicals that (in most cases) can’t be treated. The report says around 20 percent of wastewater comes from the dying process. The overconsumption of fast fashion is also a leading cause of the over-polluting of landfills. The thrifting boom could help to lower the ecological footprint of the clothing industry. 

Why is thrifting so trendy?


Social Media

TikTok catapulted the thrifting trend to new heights during the pandemic, and is most likely the reason why it’s as popular as we see today. Thrift hauls and #ThriftTok have evolved into an entire subculture on the app; dedicated to showing off unique finds and clothing items to massive audiences. The hashtag has almost 300,000 videos underneath, and over a billion views. The most popular videos under the hashtag are raking in millions of views and likes. 

Thrifted style bundles have also made the rounds online, and contribute to the rise of the trend. Certain TikTokers with an affinity for thrifting will act as personal stylists, selling curated, style bundles that are fully second-hand. All the buyer has to do is provide some sort of inspiration and direction for the style or aesthetic they desire, and the thrifter does the rest. It takes the search out of the equation. 

Unique finds

Shopping second-hand also allows for people to find unique pieces, truly tailored to their personal style. Mostly thanks to social media, an array of niche style trends have risen to popularity. From the Y2K boom of 2020 and 2021, to the 2023 coquettish style inspired by musical icons like Lana Del Rey; unique style trends are on the rise, and shopping at thrift stores can provide the opportunity for shoppers to find items that lends itself to that niche.

Reselling Marketplaces

With the initial rise in popularity in thrifting, reselling marketplaces have popped up, and have ended up contributing to the popularity of second-hand shopping. Online reselling platforms like Depop and ThreadUp allow users to sell their second-hand goods for a profit. ThreadUp’s consumer report says that 25 percent of consumers resold clothing in 2023, and the number one reason why was to make extra money. 

This tends to work in a cycle – especially with Depop, since it operates on a peer-to-peer business model – where shoppers will go to thrift stores in person with the intention of reselling their finds online. Despite backlash online, the reselling community on Depop remains very active, with over 30 million active users.

And it just keeps growing… shopping second-hand, whether it be on an online marketplace like Depop, or at a local thrift store, remains a huge trend in the fashion world. It’s an environmentally friendly, cost effective, and unique way to shop for clothes, and is a lifestyle choice that has benefits for individuals, the community, and the planet.

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