The number of people shopping at vintage, or thrift stores, continues to increase. This is occurring even when considering the strong economy. The growth in shoppers is even greater for younger people, in particular those who are under the age of 25.
A couple of recent reports have come out to show the growth of vintage stores. One, from GlobalData, shows that sales at thrift stores are growing 24 times faster than other forms of retail, and the size of the market may double by 2022. This report takes into account shoppers of all ages and income brackets, whether it is a teenager on a limited budget or someone in their 50s who is looking for some vintage type items. In fact, about 33% of females have shopped at a thrift store at least once in 2017, regardless of their age.
A second report from ThredUP shows that an astounding 40% of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 have shopped at a vintage store over the last 12 months, with a majority of them going back multiple times. Now to see that almost 50% of those under the age of 25 are using thrift stores is an incredible number.
What does this data tell us?
This is where it gets more challenging. ThredUP did provide some of their own sampling data as well, including the following. The firm showed that one in 3 millennials is concerned about waste, so buying vintage items (vs throwing them away, etc.) cuts back on waste. Younger people are claiming to be more environmentally friendly.
There is also data from ThredUP and Gallup surveys that shows that millennials are not as materialistic as older generations…well at least they claim they are not! If that is true, and it holds up as their income increases and is not just something they say as their budgets are holding them back, then that would be a “breath of fresh air”. We may need to write some now posts how maybe “keeping up with the Jones”, not saving, spending, etc. is no longer relevant!
There is some Gallup survey data that shows some millennials were impacted by the “great recession” when they were growing up. Maybe their parent(s) lost a job, or their house was foreclosed on. Or maybe they were struggling to pay the utility bill or buy food. So there is some expert thought that those experiences may be influencing millennials shopping patterns, even as they age, and maybe they do not want to be as materialistic as other generations. As the years go by we will see if that is the case and the trend holds up. Time will tell whether those two data points hold up over time. As there have been many other periods in recent American history in which younger people say they are not materialistic and care about the environment, such as in the 1960 – 70s “hippie” eras, people growing up in the 30-40s when economy was weak, those in the 80s who claim to be environmentally friendly due to Ozone layer, etc.
The fact is it is fairly simple to say you are not materialistic when living on a limited income. Once they get into the job market and start earning a paycheck, peoples outlooks often change. So needless to say we are a little skeptical whether people are becoming less materialistic and more environmental. But we at needhelppayingbills, and me personally, hope very badly to be proven wrong in that skepticism.