Holiday shopping is well underway for many Americans. However, we’re seeing decreases in anticipated holiday spending this year due to economic worries. That said, CivicScience took a closer look at a cost-effective and inflation-proof shopping method for the upcoming holiday season: the second-hand market. 

Late October polling showed that 30% of U.S. adults are at least ‘somewhat likely’ to buy a second-hand item to give as a holiday gift this year. In comparison to pre-pandemic levels, current interest stands four percentage-points higher than 2019 levels (26%). 

This figure is also eight percentage-points higher than the percent specifically interested in purchasing holiday gifts from online re-sale clothing stores (22%).

When looking at the data by age bracket, there are clear differences. Young Gen Z adults are the most likely to be interested in buying second-hand items for gifts this year (62%), which is the same age group most interested in online thrifting and say nostalgia drives their fashion choices. On the other end, consumers aged 55+ report the lowest levels of intent (16%).

So, what’s driving consumers to purchase second-hand gifts? It may come as no surprise that concerns over supply chain issues is one factor driving re-sale gift-giving this year. More than half of consumers ‘very interested’ in thrifting holiday gifts report the strongest concerns over supply chain issues. While all other respondents report the lowest level of concern (18%).

This could mean that people with a high intent to purchase second-hand gifts are doing so out of economic concerns, whereas those who are somewhat interested may be doing so for other reasons, such as finding unique items.

What else we’re seeing in the data:

  • Consumers very interested in second-hand gifting are more than twice as likely to buy food produced with sustainable practices (farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, etc.) than those who are uninterested in re-sale gifting.
  • Those who say they’re spending the most money at deep discount stores for holiday gifts this year are the most interested in second-hand gifting in general, closely followed by specialty store holiday shoppers.

Want to see more of the latest insights shaping holiday shopping this year? Get in touch to access the CivicScience Consumer Holiday Tracker, our forward-looking and always-on tracker that’s guiding many decision-makers already.