The thrift store industry is carving out a significant niche in the American retail landscape. With approximately 16–18% of Americans shopping at thrift stores, the sector has grown to house 28,849 businesses in the US as of 2023. 

And this momentum doesn’t seem to be slowing; projections suggest that by 2026, the U.S. secondhand market will surpass its current size, touching an impressive $82 billion

Let me share the most crucial thrift store industry statistics and trends you should be aware of right away. 👗📈.

Key Findings:  Thrift Store Industry Statistics

  • The thrift store market is expected to reach $14.2 billion by 2023.
  • The global secondhand apparel market is expected to grow by 98.31% by 2027. 
  • The average thrift store in the United States earns around $300,000 per year in revenue.
  • As of 2023, there are 28,849 thrift store businesses in the United States, a 3.5% increase from 2022.
  • The US thrift store market grew 4.7% annually in last 5 years.
  • About 16–18% of Americans shop at a thrift store.
  • 93% of Americans now shop for used items online.
  • 60% of shoppers would change their habits to reduce environmental impact.
  • Thrift store shoppers save an average of nearly $150 per month.
  • The global secondhand clothing market is expected to grow by 127% by 2026.

Sources: (America’s Research Group, ThredUP, GlobalData, Depop, NRF, Ibisworld, Yahoo)

16-18% of Americans Patronize Thrift Stores Annually

Important takeaway:

Encourage thrift shoppingGiven the 16-18% participation rate, thrift stores can be a viable market segment. It would benefit businesses to capitalize on this potential customer base.
Increase sustainability effortsThrift shopping signifies eco-friendly consumer behavior. More sustainability initiatives could attract this 16-18% consumer base.
Develop marketing strategiesIt’s important to focus on this consumer segment. Tailored marketing strategies can attract thrift shoppers.
Improve product sourcingThrift stores serve a considerable clientele. Enhanced sourcing can ensure quality and variety, enticing more customers.

Source: America’s Research Group

62% of Gen Z and Millennials Prioritize Used Over New

Important takeaway:

Focus on Gen Z, millennialsThis demographic’s preference for used items implies they are key consumers for thrift stores. Targeted campaigns may yield high returns.
Promote eco-friendly buyingGen Z and millennials value sustainability. Aligning with these values in marketing can effectively engage this group.
Prioritize online platformsThis tech-savvy group likely searches for used items online. Increasing online presence can help reach them effectively.
Maintain quality of used itemsHigh demand for used items calls for quality assurance. This could increase trust and loyalty among these consumers.

Source: ThredUP

Resale Market Poised to Hit $53 Billion by 2023

Important takeaway:

Invest in secondhand marketWith its predicted value, this market provides a robust investment opportunity. Capitalizing early could result in significant returns.
Consider entering resale sectorThe expected growth suggests high consumer interest. New businesses can benefit from entering this thriving market.
Diversify product offeringsA larger market implies a diverse consumer base. Expanding product range can cater to various customer preferences.
Enhance online resale platformsThe projected growth may be driven by online sales. Prioritizing user-friendly digital platforms can be a strategic move.

Source: ThredUP

US to Spend $82 Billion on Secondhand Goods by 2026

Important takeaway:

Invest in secondhand marketWith such significant projected spending, the secondhand market presents a lucrative opportunity for businesses.
Enhance product qualityHigh spending means consumers expect value. Offering quality secondhand goods can increase market share.
Leverage e-commerceHigh expenditure might be driven by online shopping. Strengthening e-commerce strategies could yield substantial rewards.
Prioritize customer serviceWith large spending, customer satisfaction is crucial. Exceptional service can lead to customer loyalty and repeated sales.

Source: GlobalData

Over Half of Shoppers Turned to Secondhand in 2022 for Savings

Important takeaway:

Cater to budget-conscious shoppersWith over half of shoppers buying secondhand to save, there’s potential in appealing to this cost-conscious demographic.
Promote affordabilityHighlighting the cost-effectiveness of secondhand shopping could appeal to these value-seeking consumers.
Stock quality yet affordable itemsCustomers expect to save, but they also want quality. Balancing both can attract this 53% consumer base.
Develop cost-saving promotionsDiscounted sales and promotions can further draw in customers seeking to save money.

Source: Depop

60% of Consumers Alter Habits for Environmental Impact

Important takeaway:

Promote eco-friendly practicesGiven the data, businesses should advertise their environmentally friendly operations to appeal to these conscious consumers.
Stock sustainable productsConsumers are willing to change habits for the environment. Offering sustainable goods can capture this market.
Encourage secondhand shoppingHighlighting the environmental benefits of secondhand shopping could motivate these shoppers.
Develop green initiativesAdopting green business strategies can attract this 60% consumer base committed to reducing environmental impact.

Source: NRF

US Thrift Market Sees 4.7% Annual Growth from 2017-2022

Important takeaway:

Exploit the Thrift Store GrowthThe continued growth of the market indicates strong consumer interest and spending.
Invest in Sustainable PracticesThrift stores are popular for their sustainability, which is increasingly valued by consumers.
Enhance Online PresenceThe consistent growth during 2017-2022 may partly be driven by online sales, reflecting the role of digital channels.
Intensify Local Marketing EffortsThrift stores, often local businesses, may have gained traction due to community engagement.

Source: Ibisworld

93% of Americans Embrace Online Shopping for Used Items

Important takeaway:

93% of Americans now shop for used items online
Expand Online Sales ChannelsThe high percentage of Americans shopping for used items online indicates significant online market potential.
Prioritize User-Friendly Website DesignGiven the extensive online engagement, a smooth, user-friendly shopping experience is paramount.
Focus on Internet MarketingThe majority of potential customers are online, underlining the need for effective internet marketing strategies.
Incorporate Online Payment SystemsWith such high online shopping rates, versatile and secure payment methods are a necessity.

Source: Yahoo