US secondhand market continues to rise amid unsteady retail market

As U.S. retail jobs continue to dwindle, companies like Bebe are shuttering their brick-and-mortar stores to focus on their online business and numerous others like Kate Spade & Co are reporting shaky Q1 results, the secondhand market is on the rise—particularly in the area of clothing, footwear and accessories which equates to about half of the resale market.

Some 94% of women say they rarely buy clothing that's full price, according to a report released by reseller thredUP - thredUP

According to a report from thredUP—the largest online consignment shop that also highlights market trends—it’s the millennials and women over 65 who are most interested in thrifting—30% and 32%, respectively.

Having grown up during economic recessions, the two generations are more mindful of their purchases. More than half of these women have shopped secondhand in the last 12 months or say they will in the next 12 months, while the majority of millennial women say they consider the resale value of an item before they purchase something new.

The fact that consumers are used to anticipating sales has also hindered the marketplace—94% of women say they rarely buy clothing that's full price. Another tough pill for retailers is the fact that consumers are becoming bored. A shocking 78% percent of women rarely find anything new or exciting shopping at traditional stores.

Even wealthier shoppers with incomes surpassing the $125,000 mark have become more thrifty, resulting in a loss for high-end retailers like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue, as widely reported by the media.

According to data reported by Bain & Company, sales of personal luxury goods, such as designer clothing and accessories, fell 1% last year, marking the first decline since 2009. Even discount retailers aren’t safe from the effects of secondhand sales.

Some 50% of thredUP shoppers claim secondhand purchases replace those they would have made at places such as Marshalls or Nordstrom Rack.

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