Largely out of necessity, consumers are getting creative about stretching their dollars.
After inflation hit back to school budgets are tough and as families feel the weight of vacation expectations, more are considering thrift stores as a way to save.
Bargain hunting is certainly not new. But with the Covid pandemic came a wave of “thrift” and second-hand shopping. Now the resale market is growing even faster than traditional retail.
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“Resale continues to provide value in these uncertain times,” said Brett Heffes, CEO of Winmark, the franchisor of stores like Plato’s Closet, Once Upon a Child and Play It Again Sports.
So-called recommerce grew nearly 15% in 2021 — twice as fast as the broader retail market and recorded the highest growth rate in history for the industry, according to a 2022 recommerce report from OfferUp.
Although dominated by clothing resale, 82% of Americans, or 272 million people, buy or sell second-hand products, OfferUp found, including electronics, furniture, household goods and sports equipment, as well as clothing.
Much of the growth is due to younger shoppers, especially teens, Heffes said. “We sell a lot of sneakers.”
According to another report from CouponFollow, thrift store shoppers save nearly $150 a month, or an average of $1,760 a year by buying second-hand items.
Saving money isn’t the only motivation, however, CouponFollow found. Shoppers said they were also motivated by other factors, such as durability and the thrill of the hunt.
Because it’s considered environmentally friendly, it has also become more socially acceptable, Heffes said. “When I started in this business, there was a stigma around buying previously owned items, and that stigma has gone.”
In fact, sometimes buying secondhand is the only way to score a limited-edition pair of Air Jordans or other coveted and exclusive items.
Part of the momentum driving resale is the desire to access a one-of-a-kind item, added Wells Fargo CEO Adam Davis, who works with recommerce retail companies, whether that’s “a Chanel handbag or Nike sneakers.” ” is – even if you end up paying more than the original sale price.
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