Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Visits Increase to Apparel Resellers and Consignment Stores

Shira Petrack
April 6, 2022
Visits Increase to Apparel Resellers and Consignment Stores

Over the past couple of years, buying second-hand clothes has become mainstream – and the pandemic seems to have given the sector a further boost. We dove into foot traffic of several leading brick and mortar apparel resellers to find out how the rise in thrifting is impacting visits to second-hand stores. 

The Rise of Thrifting

The second-hand apparel market in the United States has been growing for quite some time, with consumers citing ethical, financial, and environmental concerns as their motivation for visiting thrift shopping. As more customers became comfortable purchasing or renting pre-owned, pre-worn clothes, even established brands – including luxury labels such as Stella McCartney and mainstream fashion houses such as Express – began entering the resale and rental apparel market as well. 

The second-hand apparel revival has boosted traffic to established chains of thrift and consignment stores, including Goodwill, which has been around since the early 20th century, Crossroads Trading and Plato’s Closet, which have both been around since the ‘90s. And although these brands also suffered a pandemic-induced setback, they quickly returned to growth. 

Throughout the second half of 2021 – except for September, where retail visits as a whole took a dip due to the spread of the Delta variant – all three chains saw steady year-over-two-year (Yo2Y) growth, culminating in a 10.4%, 9.3%, and 3.6% Yo2Y increase in December visits for Plato’s Closet, Goodwill, and Crossroads Trading Co., respectively. 

Growth continuing in 2022 

While thrifting was already on the rise pre-COVID, it seems that the pandemic has given the sector an additional boost. People spending more time at home finally got the chance to purge their closets, which increased the supply of high quality second-hand clothing in thrift stores. And this increased supply may continue in 2022, as people working from home continue to declutter their spaces. 

On the demand side, some consumers who got into the habit of purchasing second-hand clothing during the period of economic uncertainty decided to stick with the habit now that their situations have somewhat stabilized. Others, who took the pandemic as an opportunity to move towards more sustainable consumption habits, have incorporated trips to the thrift stores into their “new normal” routine. 

Foot traffic data shows that the growth in visits to second-hand apparel retailers has indeed continued into 2022. Despite the Omicron-induced nationwide lull in retail visits in early January, visits to the three brands have been up every week this year when compared to pre-pandemic 2019. The last full week of March saw visits up by 19.2%, 15.0%, and 10.7%, for Plato’s Closet, Goodwill, and Crossroads Trading Co., respectively, compared to the equivalent week in 2019. 

Second-hand vs. Traditional apparel 

Although some consumers now prefer second-hand clothing stores to traditional apparel retailers, most consumers do not seem to treat the two categories as mutually exclusive. The chart below represents the approximate baseline change in foot traffic to Goodwill, Plato’s Closet, and Crossroads Trading alongside the change in nationwide apparel visits since January 2017. 

In addition to confirming the slow and steady rise of apparel resellers over the last five years, the chart reveals an interesting insight about the seasonality of the second-hand apparel category. Whereas regular apparel visits tend to peak in December, foot traffic to thrift stores peaks in August and October. While the October peak is likely due to Halloween and costume shopping, the reasons for the August peak are less evident – perhaps parents facing back to school season look to buy second-hand clothes for their quickly growing kids, or maybe the surge is driven by consumers who enjoy thrift store shopping as part of their vacation routine. 

Whatever the reason, the difference in seasonality trends between second-hand and traditional apparel visits seems to indicate that second-hand apparel chains are not necessarily in direct competition with stores that sell new clothing. Instead, consumers visit each category based on the specific need they are looking to fill. 

For more data-driven retail insights, visit our blog

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Small Coffee Chains Brewing Big Success White Paper Recap – November 2023
Thanksgiving Travel 2023 Recap
Checking in With Nike and Lululemon
Black Friday 2023 Retail Recap
Starbucks’ 2023 Holiday Menu & Red Cup Day Performance
Turkey Wednesday 2023
Who Attended the 2023 Pickleball Championship? 
Three Surprising Holiday Shopping Trends
What’s in Store for Ulta Beauty This Holiday Season?
Best Buy and Department Stores: A Holiday Deep Dive
Discount & Dollar Stores: Strength Toward The End of the Year
The State of Off-Price Retail: Discounts Seal The Deal
Placer Mall Index Recap: October 2023 Office Index: October 2023 Recap
Retail Corridors Ahead of the 2023 Holiday Season
California, Here Gap Comes
Checking in With Home Improvement
Getting Into the Glasses Game: Warby Parker Takes Over
Fitness Positioned for a Strong 2023 Finish
White Paper Recap: October 2023
Coffee Giants Brewing Up Business
Popeyes and Burger King Lead the Way
Diving into Yum!
Looking Ahead to Black Friday 2023
Blockbusters Drive Movie Theater Comeback
Crocs and Boot Barn: Shoe-Ins for Success
McDonald’s and Chipotle's Winning Recipe
The State Of Steak: Checking in With Texas Roadhouse
Pleasant Pastimes: Pickleball Potential Proves Potent
Who’s Driving Downtown Manhattan’s Weekend Revival?
Diving into Downtown Manhattan Foot Traffic Trends
Rite Aid: Rightsizing Right
Major League Soccer: Its Die-Hard and Casual Fans
The Anchor Recap: September 2023 Office Index: September 2023 Recap
Placer Mall Index Recap: September 2023
September White Paper Recap
The Consumer Habits of College Students
JCPenney: Rightsizing and Revitalizing
Pent-Up Demand Ahead of October Sales Events
4 Strategies Retailers are Using to Drive Traffic to Their Venues
5 Key Regional Grocery Players Impressing in 2023
Upscale Kitchenware Trending Up
Costco Finds More Room for Growth
Four C-Store Chains Making an A-Grade
National Parks + Outdoor Summer Activities
Diving Into Darden: Summer 2023 Update
The Summer Event Effect
Messi: Massive in Miami
Looking Back on Back to School 2023
The Anchor Recap: August 2023 Office Index: August 2023 Recap Mall Index: August 2023 Recap White Paper Recap: August 2023
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Strikes Again
Big Scoop: We All Scream For Ice Cream
Sports Away: Lululemon & Nike’s Momentum Continues
Summer Visits Heat Up For Recreation and Outdoor Gear Chains
No CSS overwrite - July 2023 Office Index Recap
Staging - August 2023 Mall Indec
Mid-Atlantic Grocery Deep Dive
Experiential Chains Heating Up This Summer
Petco Goes Big by Going Small
Ulta Beauty: Leading the Discretionary Pack
Discount and Dollar Chains Continue to Thrive
Summer of Sports: DICK’s Sporting Goods and Hibbett Sports
Off-Price: Succeeding Into Summer
The Anchor Recap: July 2023
Superstores Maintaining Pandemic Gains Amidst Economic Headwinds
2023: Home Improvement at the Halfway Point
July 2023 Office Index Recap Mall Index: July 2023 Recap
The Taylor Swift Visit Lift
Southwestern Grocery Dive
July 2023 White Paper Recap: Halfway Point Review & Quarterly Index
Yum! Brands: Driving Dining Visits
Slurpees and Summer Movies Stimulate Consumer Foot Traffic
Cool Beans: Summer Coffee Update
Checking In on Back to School 2023
Crocs and New Balance Tip The Scales
Burger Bliss: Shake Shack and In-N-Out Stacking Visits
Chipotle & McDonald's Continue to Reign Supreme
Vibenomics and Partner to Enhance Retail Media In-Store Measurement
California Grocers Here We Come!
Marriott’s Different Audiences
Bonchon and Kura Sushi Thrive in the Fast-Casual Scene
A Shoe In: Footwear Climbs to the Top
Cheers! Raising a Glass to Beverage Retail Office Index: June 2023 Recap Mall Index June 2023 Recap – A Turn of the Tide and a Dive into Open-Air Lifestyle Centers
Local Kitchens: Redefining the Restaurant
Unlocking Urban Insights: The Value in Manhattan’s Employees
Ohio State Parks On The Rise
How is Inflation Impacting the High-Income Shoppers?
Five Fast-Growing Dining Chains
What To Expect From Prime Day and July Sales Events in 2023
The State Of Fashion: How Are Apparel Retailers Faring in 2023?
2023’s Latest Dining Success Story: GEN Korean BBQ House
The NBA Finals: A Location Intelligence Perspective