There is a broad range of options for thrifting and secondhand shopping. Secondhand stores,  consignment shops, and more recently online resale sites have become viable options for shoppers looking for used clothes, accessories, home goods, and more. 

Previous CivicScience research published in October 2020 and March 2021 has shown a gradual decrease in interest in shopping for clothes at secondhand or thrift stores. 

Currently, 1 in 4 U.S. adults purchase used clothing and accessories and enjoy it. An additional 4% have not tried it but are interested.

While platforms like eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace have long offered a space for selling anything from used paving stones to vintage comic books, resale sites specifically designed to sell used clothing and accessories, like Poshmark and thredUP, continue to emerge as alternatives for price-conscious shoppers.  

The majority of Americans (59%) do not have experience with online resale sites and aren’t interested in using them. Nine percent have purchased clothing from these sites and plan to continue shopping online, and 5% would like to give it a try.

Price-Conscious Shoppers Drive Secondhand Apparel Sales 

Lower prices lead as the top reason for thrifting (28%). Unique, vintage finds entice 12% of shoppers, followed by people who go thrift shopping for fun (8%), or as a sustainable, environmentally-friendly option (8%). 

Social Media and Thrifting

There exists a general correlation between social media use and having tried and liked thrift or secondhand shopping. Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook users are all more likely to have tried and liked buying used clothing than non-users by nearly 10 percentage points across the board. 

TikTok users are far-and-away the most interested in purchasing used clothing and accessories, with a large percentage doing so through online resale sites.

Overall, 42% of TikTok users like shopping for secondhand goods. Twenty six percent of TikTok users have experience with online resale sites compared to only 11% of non-users. 

As social media sites continue to offer more retail opportunities for users, this may provide an ideal resale platform for thrifters and larger companies looking to take advantage of its clothing resale market. We might expect to see an increase in resale site users offering opportunities to sell or buy budget friendly, unique finds.