Shopping At Thrift Stores Is Trendy
The convenience of the internet has made shopping for virtually anything extremely accessible. Now, if somebody sees something they like that is owned by someone else they can easily type into Google the description of the item and find it, or something similar, in seconds. Online shopping has become the norm for consumers when looking for clothes. A study by NPR found that as many as 84% of Americans have purchased clothes or shoes from a digital retailer. Clearly online shopping is popular and will continue to rise, particularly amongst young adults as the world becomes more technologically advanced. In the EU, e-commerce picked up, that over the 2010-2020 period those aged 16-24 had the biggest increase of online shopping at 29%. Younger generations are driving the increase of online shopping more than any other age group.
Generation Z, (those born from 1990-2010) are in the most impressionable part of their lives right now. The desire to fit in and conform to cultural norms to get a positive reaction on social media is a factor that influences their eating habits, hobbies and clothing choices. Much of this generation is preoccupied with social acceptance and coolness associated with the clothes they wear. People liked to be liked, and tend to conform to popular trends in order to feel accepted. In an article for Mindless Mag, Rachel Howel makes the point that, “Although fashion can contribute to aiding an individual with good mental health, the immense pressure for young people to stay up to date can be jarring.” Trends in the world of fashion are constantly changing with every season so consumers need to buy more clothes before they’ve even worn through their old ones in order to keep up. Those on social media feel pressure to keep up to date with the newest trends because they want the validation received through likes on the pictures they post. Generation Z is also looking for lower priced clothes because most of them cannot afford to pay much more for their wardrobe. They are focused on putting their money towards other things and don’t want to pay designer prices if they can find something that looks the same for less. The most common solution for those in Generation Z has been to turn towards fast fashion websites. Fast fashion has allowed people to keep up with the newest trends at the cheapest price.
High school and college students are looking for clothes they can buy for cheap to wear once out at a party or other social event. They are looking for something to fit the theme of the outing they’re going to without breaking the bank. It’s known when they begin the process of looking for new clothes that the quality of the clothes isn’t going to be the best but that’s what they are expecting. If the clothes are damaged or the purchaser does only wear it once before it’s out of style, it doesn’t matter because they didn’t spend a lot of money on it to begin with. Due to the low price of the clothes, the quality of the material is also going to be low. A study done by Laitala K. and Klepp I.G. through PLATE, found that of the 620 clothing items used by 16 households, 50 of the garments were never used. In total every fifth garment was either never used or used only a couple of times by the current owner. Klepp and Laitala also found that of all the age groups studied, teenagers and young adults had the shortest average lifespan of all their garments at less than half compared to older generations.
It is becoming more popular for these younger generations to shop at thrift stores. The motivation to shop in thrift stores is shifting towards being for fashion purposes.Thrift stores are trying to get rid of the stereotype that they are dark, disorganized and dirty. The motivation to shop at thrift stores is shifting away from being purely economic. For example, Plato’s Closet is a second hand store that specifically asks it’s donors for brand name clothes like Free People, LuluLemon and Urban Outfitters. They ask for name brands so that they’re target market knows that Plato’s Closet is a place to go to find those popular clothing brands.
The problem is that the younger generations shop at thrift stores more than they donate. In Roger Bennett’s study for Factors Underlying the Inclination to Donate to Particular Types of Charity, International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, he found that 60% of donations come from those aged 60-70. The reason these fast fashion clothes are being thrown away before their full potential is used is because there aren’t advertised places and ways to easily donate clothes.Data found in a study, Fast-fashion consumers’ post-purchase behaviours found that “fast-fashion consumers had positive attitudes towards the environment, yet they did not participate in recycling.” Author Hyun-Mee Joung, concluded that the want for these consumers to recycle was there, fast fashion companies just need to implement and remind their customers of the importance of sustainability.
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Bennett, Roger (2003), “Factors Underlying the Inclination to Donate to Particular Types of Charity,” International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing,” Vol. 8, pp. 12-29.
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NPR/Marist poll: Amazon is a Colossus in a nation of shoppers. (2018, June 06). Retrieved April 12, 2021.
Howell, Rachel (2020, October 10) Gen z’s pressure to keep up with fashion trends.
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Joung, H.-M. (2014), “Fast-fashion consumers’ post-purchase behaviors” , International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 42 No. 8, pp. 688-697.