Millennial Second-Hand Shopping
Millennials (25 to 37 years) account for 33% of all secondhand shoppers and this generation thrifts the most among all other generations. It was found that people age 18 to 37 years are adopting the trend of secondhand apparels 2.5 times faster than any other age group. The reasons why millennials shop at second-hand and thrift stores include budget constraints, the ability to bargain, eco-consciousness, hunger for thrift items, need for uniqueness, and that millennial generation is most fashionably wasteful. The secondhand or resale industry in the US is booming and was expected to reach $41 billion by 2022.
INSIGHTS INTO WHY MILLENNIALS SHOP SECOND-HAND/IN THRIFT STORES
1. Budget Constraints:
- Millennials always have a budget on their minds and they have been "primed to have secondhand shopping as a preference."
- According to a survey by YPulse, November 2019, 57% of consumers age 13 to 37 years said that they “never pay full price for clothing.”
- Secondhand shopping has been a "big part of shopping behavior" of young consumers including Gen Z and millennials have come up as a "threat to the retail industry."
- The survey concluded that the secondhand shopping behavior of Generation Z and millennials is not only "changing luxury retail," but has a "far bigger impact."
- ThreadUp reported that due to budget constraints, 66% of thrifters used to "buy better brands they would otherwise never pay full price for" and that "13% of shoppers are actually millionaires."
2. Quality deals, the ability to haggle, and “the thrill of the hunt”:
- Although online apps for secondhand shopping are not yet included in the top ranking, or the top five apps for any single age group, young consumers including millennials found Goodwill/thrift stores as their "favorite place to buy clothing."
- The availability of online apps for secondhand shopping such as Depop, ThredUp, and Poshmark has made "shopping more affordable secondhand items more accessible than ever."
- These apps are preferred primarily by females and for the "quality deals, the ability to haggle", and “the thrill of the hunt” are the "major reasons" they love shopping for secondhand items on the platforms.
- YPulse's survey found that 25% of females ages 13 to 37-years and 29% of females ages 18 to 24-years have "bought clothing from a resale site/app—far more than those who say they have rented clothing."
- Now, the popularity of apps for resale or secondhand shopping among young consumers including millennials is "potentially hurting major retailers."
3. Eco-consciousness and sustainability:
- Apart from the budget the most important reason why millennials shop at second-hand and thrift stores is their eco-consciousness.
- According to the ThreadUp report, 77% of millennials prefer buying from environmentally-conscious brands. As compared to other generations, millennials are "more likely to switch to thrifting for an environmental reason."
- Young shoppers including millennials "increasingly asking brands (and politicians) to take action on issues like climate change."
- Therefore, some apps like ThredUp are taking the benefit of an "earth-friendly shopping option." They have filled up their website and social media with messages around “circular shopping helping the planet."
- ThreadUp is encouraging young secondhand shoppers including Gen Z and millennials to "be proud of their secondhand clothing, and that “Wearing secondhand is a vote for the planet.”
- The brand, ThreadUp hopes that "bragging about buying and wearing secondhand items will be the future," and so, they are spreading the message.
- The CGS study found that for 70% of millennial and Gen Z consumers, sustainability is an important factor while making buying decisions. Some of these consumers choose a brand that is eco-friendly while many other choose to shop for a second hand or resale item.
- Most importantly, secondhand buying has a positive impact on the environment as it was found that the "life of an item extends by 2.2 years if sold secondhand, which reduces the carbon footprint by 73%."
4. Hunger for thrift items:
- The study revealed that the expected US market size for the resale market will reach $41 billion by 2022 and the boom in secondhand shopping cause changes in the fashion and retail industry.
- It was found that in 2014, smart brands had started "incorporating resale into their sites" as an experiment mainly to earn profit from "hunger for thrift items" among younger (Gen Z and millennial) generations.
- According to a report by ThreadUp, 2018, "millennials thrift more than any other generation."
- However, as more and more brands work towards tapping into the resales market trend to attract back the Gen Z and millennial shoppers; they are losing!
- Big brands have adopted various strategies to tap the millennial demographics mainly by partnering with "secondhand shopping startups."
- The YPulse survey revealed that secondhand shopping has been adopted by Gen Z and millennials “2.5 times faster than other generations.” They expect this trend to be continued as they "start buying clothing for their own children."
- The study concluded that secondhand shopping is not merely a passing fad, but "a major shift in retail" that young consumers including millennials are driving.
5. Most fashionably wasteful generation:
- According to the ThreadUp report, millennials are the "most fashionably wasteful generation." They are also known as the "most impulsive shoppers." But thrifting has provided a way to the millennial generation to give a second life to their unwanted clothing.
- People aged between 18 and 34, on average, "only wear an item one to five times before discarding it."
- The report found that "millennials thrift more than any other generation;" however, they are also the "most wasteful when it comes to fashion."
- Secondhand shopping has provided a way to the millennial generation of impulse buyers "to offset the habit, and it could just change the world."
6. Need for uniqueness and sustainable fashion:
- Millennials and Generation Z consumers enjoy fashion and are interested in "expressing their personality through the use of fashion."
- Therefore, most of the clothes that millennials purchase from secondhand or thrift stores allow them to express the "uniqueness of their style" and also "maintain a sustainable impact. "
- The increased "need for uniqueness combined with wanting sustainable fashion" has led millennials to get attracted towards second-hand fashion.
- 57% of millennials said that "they would purchase upcycled products."