Rich, Trendy Gen Zers Are Making Secondhand Shopping More Expensive For Those Who Need It

A smiling group of young adults have fun shopping for retro and vintage clothing styles at a second hand thrift store.
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Thrifting, also known as secondhand shopping, has always been a popular way to find quality items at discounted prices. However, in recent years, thrift shopping is now booming thanks to Gen Zers looking for sustainable, yet stylish clothing options. But while younger generations are bringing big business to the thrifting business, it hasn’t been so great for lower-income shoppers.

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Business Insider noted an April Vox report which stated that wealthier young adults and teens — who are thrifting for the look rather than affordability — are paying more for thrifted items, sending prices up and limiting the amount of available inventory.

Adele Meyer, executive director of the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops told Axios that big thrift chains like Goodwill and Crossroads are seeing increased traffic, as well as smaller independent shops. Insider also noted that social shopping apps like Poshmark, Depop and ThredUp are changing the thrifting business model by allowing users to buy gently used items and flip them to make a profit.

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Depop sellers have been able to make as much as $300,000 a year, Insider reported, and have even been able to buy cars and houses before reaching adulthood.

According to Axios, the secondhand market is expected to reach $77 billion by 2025, up from $36 billion in 2021. Axios added that this is growing at a rate of 11 times the rate of the retail clothing sector.

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A recent retail analytics report also showed that about a quarter of the secondhand market is resale clothing, Insider reported. It’s estimated to grow by 39% per year between 2021 and 2025 and will eventually account for over half of the market, driven mainly by Gen Z.

Last updated: October 5, 2021

About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.

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