What Does the Thrifting Trend Mean for Retail Stores?

Thrift shopping is becoming increasingly popular as the desire for inexpensive and unique clothing skyrockets. Many thrift stores, especially higher-end resale shops, have designer brands for far less than retail prices. People are also looking for one-of-a-kind clothing, which is easy to find at a thrift store, as opposed to fast fashion retail that may result in eight people in your dorm or office owning the same shirt. ThredUp’s 2019 resale report shows that “Resale satisfies two biggest demands of the Instagram generation: be seen in new styles constantly and be a sustainability-conscious consumer.”

Credit: Time 

In addition to being unique and cheap, thrifting is much more eco-friendly than shopping at retail stores. Fast fashion, high volumes of cheap clothing that are rapidly produced and replaced to keep up with trends, is one of the biggest contributors to fashion’s carbon footprint. A recent story from CBS states that “the apparel and footwear industries together account for more than 8 percent of global climate impact.” According to an article from Fortune, “textile production [is] set to account for 25 percent of all global carbon emissions by 2050,” and, “buying one used item reduces its carbon footprint by 82 percent.” The thredUp report found that “72 percent of consumers prefer to buy from environmentally-friendly brands.” As concern about the environment grows, secondhand clothing may be part of the solution.

As retail stores and malls continue to shut down, the thrifting market is rapidly growing. The Fortune article reports that “the fashion resale market is exploding, growing 21 times faster than the retail market over the past three years.” Many retailers are turning to the resale trend in an effort to stay afloat. The thredUp report found that almost 9 in 10 retail executives hope to enter the resale market by 2020. Some companies are already making the change. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Macy’s and J.C. Penny recently partnered with thredUp to sell secondhand items in their stores, and Patagonia is opening a resale store in Boulder, Colorado.

Credit: dailyemerald.com

Retail stores are also reacting by accepting used clothes. Many brands are reusing donated items or giving them to charitable organizations. H&M, Eileen Fisher, North Face, Levi’s, For Days, Patagonia, and Madewell are a few of the brands that accept donated clothes, according to an article from Refinery29.

Shopping for secondhand clothes will help your wallet, wardrobe, and the environment, and donating your clothes is also environmentally and socially responsible. Stores are realizing that thrifted clothes are the next big thing, so expect to see more secondhand shopping options in the future.


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