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11/16/2021

ThredUp: Consumers more open to secondhand holiday gifts

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
Dan Berthiaume profile picture
Online resale marketplaces may see a seasonal holiday surge.

Consumers’ concerns about inflation and supply chain pressures may spur increased online resale marketplace spending this holiday season.

More than half (52%) of consumers are concerned that popular holiday gifts will be more expensive this year, and one in three believe limited inventory will make it difficult to find gifts, according to the “Thrift for the Holidays Report,” a survey conducted by GlobalData for online resale platform ThredUp. As a result, 49% of respondents said they are considering alternative gifts this holiday season, such as making a resale/secondhand purchase, and 43% plan to adjust their holiday shopping to account for shipping delays this year.

In other findings, 62% of respondents believe buying secondhand apparel/fashion gifts is more socially acceptable now than five years ago. Two-thirds (66%) are now open to receiving a secondhand gift. The top three reasons respondents gave for being open to shopping for secondhand gifts are: (1) They are looking for better deals, (2) they want to shop more sustainably and (3) they want to give a gift that's unique.

The study also found that Gen Z respondents are especially open to secondhand holiday gifts, with 72% of being open to receiving a secondhand gift, compared to 66% of respondents overall. Sustainability is the number one motivation for Gen Z respondents shopping for secondhand holiday gifts (64%), compared to 54% of respondents overall. Deal-seeking comes in at number two, with 62% of Gen Z respondents open to secondhand gift shopping to save money.

Survey data also indicates that two in five respondents say they plan to give a gift card this year.

Even without possible increased holiday sales, the previously released 2021 Resale Report” from ThredUp Inc. and GlobalData shows that secondhand apparel, shoes, and accessories is now a $36 billion market, projected to double in the next five years to $77 billion. Resale is expected to grow 11-times faster than firsthand retail clothing sales over the next five years.

In addition, resale sales are expected to be more than twice the size of fast fashion sales by 2030, with two in five resale consumers saying they're replacing fast fashion purchases with secondhand clothing. In 2020, 33 million consumers bought secondhand apparel for the first time, and 76% of those first-time buyers plan to increase their spend on secondhand in the next five years.

"It's amazing and encouraging to see how many consumers are now open to gifting thrift,” said Erin Wallace, VP of integrated marketing, ThredUp. “We've heard that consumers are growing tired of the waste of the holiday season, and are increasingly seeking more sustainable options that align with their values. This is particularly true of GenZ. By choosing used for the holidays, consumers are cutting waste for both their wallets and the planet."

Download the full 'Thrift for the Holidays' report here.

For the purpose of this study, GlobalData conducted a survey of 2,000 American adults over 18, asking specific questions about their holiday shopping behaviors and preferences for secondhand. The study also leverages data from Green Story Inc. research and internal ThredUp brand performance data.