From finding one-of-a-kind merchandise to scoring good deals, thrifting has become a popular past time activity and way to shop for second-hand clothing. Aside from sorting through bins and racks in-store, many consumers have thrifted on e-commerce sites like Poshmark and The Real Real. Not to mention, the online second-hand marketplace is growing as more players are entering the market, such as Goodwill who announced they are launching an e-commerce platform for online thrifting. 

So, where does online thrift shopping currently stand among the public? CivicScience has the answers: 

1. One-in-four have experience purchasing from online thrifting sites, and interest is overwhelmingly high among Gen Z.

CivicScience survey results show that one-quarter of U.S. adults have already given online thrifting a shot, with repeat shoppers making up 16%. Slightly more than 10% are planning to purchase from online second-hand sites in the future (n=3,831).

And, online thrifting adoption and intent have grown since last year. 

When it comes to experience reselling clothes on online second-hand clothing stores, the data show that few consumers have done so and liked it (6%). However, more than 15% are planning to try it out.

These are both figures that have grown since 2021.

Who’s the most likely to shop from online resale clothing stores? Females are more likely to report they have shopped or plan to shop from these e-commerce sites than males. And Gen Z adults are overwhelmingly the most likely to be shoppers or intenders (76%), with younger Millennials (25-35) taking second (56%). 

Income also plays a factor in experience. Respondents in the lowest income bracket are the most likely to be repeat customers (18%) and intenders (13%) than any other income bracket. 

2. Discounted prices are most important to online thrifters.

Among online thrifters, almost half say they buy clothes from online second-hand clothing stores for discounted prices, and more than a quarter do so for unique finds. Sustainability reasons are also notable among online thrifters. 

Given that online thrifters value discounted prices the most, we could see consumers turning to online second-hand clothing stores to purchase holiday gifts this year, as recent data show that price-conscious spending is altering how people shop for the holidays. 

Currently, more than 20% of U.S. adults are at least ‘somewhat likely’ to purchase holiday gifts from online resale sites or have already done so. 

3. Online thrifters are avid TikTokers, influenced by the latest fashion trends, and value nostalgia in their clothing choices.

TikTok has become a popular social media platform for sharing clothing hauls, and it’s a go-to search engine for young shoppers. That said, online thrifters (46%) and intenders (36%) are much more likely to use TikTok frequently than those uninterested in using online thrifting sites (11%). 

They are also more than twice as likely to wear clothing based on fashion trends than those uninterested in online thrift shopping. 

And, 80% of those with experience shopping on secondhand clothing sites say nostalgia is at least ‘a little’ important to them in their clothing purchases, compared to just 30% of those uninterested. 

With the industry growing, we could see shopping at online second-hand clothing stores become mainstream among a younger audience, given shopping trends align with those of Gen Zers. Or, with online thrifting’s discount benefits, we could see new audiences give this method of online shopping a try.