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With inflation still running hot and consumers looking to spend (but spend less), shoppers are now flocking to thrift stores at a remarkable rate to stretch their dollars.
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According to a recent CouponFollow report, the average person can save $146 a month, or $1,760 a year, by buying secondhand goods. Given the rising popularity of thrifting among younger generations — 34% of Gen Z survey respondents always go to thrift stores for their shopping and 31% of Gen Zer and millennials shop at thrift stores “very often” — the trend doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.
Per CNBC, Winmark CEO Brett Heffes said: “Resale continues to provide value in these uncertain times.”
Recommerce a Growing Economic Sector
“Recommerce” stores are thriving right now. As OfferUp’s 2022 Recommerce Report found, 2021 saw nearly a 15% rate of growth — the highest ever and double the rate of previous years — as more people look to buy sustainably, grow side hustles and save money.
As OfferUp’s reports noted, 82% of, or 272 million, Americans buy and sell at secondhand outlets. It is expected that recommerce markets will reach a revenue of $187 billion this year and $289 billion in 2027. Its growth is outdoing that of traditional retail, according to CNBC.
When many people think of thrift stores, they tend to picture large warehouses stocked with used clothing. Although secondhand apparel is very popular and occupies many square feet of floor space at thrift stores, it only accounts for 24% of sales.
OfferUp noted that the remaining 76% of items sold at recommerce shops fall into the categories of electronics, furniture, home goods and home improvement, sporting and outdoor equipment and auto parts.
Inflation Driving Interest in Thrift Store Shopping
Inflation is the prime motivator behind the current surge in thrift store shopping, and the pandemic can be tied directly to influencing the changing spending patterns of Americans — but there have always been many other reasons for shopping at secondhand outlets.
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Besides picking up items that aren’t stocked by traditional retailers at rock-bottom prices, thrift shops help save 38 million pounds of clothing from landfill dumping annually, as well as operate in aid of community development and local charities, per Haven House Thrift Store. They are magnets for product flippers, collectors and low-income residents who cannot afford to shop new for essential items — a vital part of a healthy economy.
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