Secondhand Gifts Will Shine This Holiday Season, Report Says

An unprecedented number of people will give (and receive) thrifted presents.

pile of folded sweaters wrapped in a black bow


The time has never been better to shop secondhand for the holidays. Supply chain shortages, rising product costs, and tighter household budgets add up to a situation in which buying used goods makes a whole lot of sense. And based on a new report, it seems that plenty of people agree.

Secondhand retailer thredUP, one of the largest online resale platforms for women's and children's apparel and footwear, recently released its "Thrift for the Holidays" report that's based on a survey of 2,000 American adults. It reveals a profound shift in the way thrifted gifts are viewed—and it's far more positive than ever before.

The report found that nearly 1 in 2 people is seriously considering giving secondhand gifts this holiday season. They're influenced by how expensive many popular items have become, by concerns about limited inventory making it hard to find things they want, and fears of shipping delays. Thrift stores appeal because whatever's listed is already in stock.

Gift recipients are more open than ever to receiving secondhand gifts, too. Gen Z, which refers to those born between the mid-to-late 1990s and early 2010s, is "leading the charge," as the report says, with 72% saying they're open to receiving a secondhand gift.

holiday gift box with folded clothes in it


Shopping secondhand has benefits that go beyond the monetary savings and convenience of being in stock. It is far better for the planet than driving demand for new consumption. thredUP says that, if everyone bought one used item instead of new this season, we'd save:

  • 4.5 pounds of CO2e (equivalent to planting 66 million trees)
  • 25 billion gallons of water
  • 11 billion kWh of energy (equivalent to powering 1 million homes for a year)

As thredUP's consumer communications director Samantha Blumenthal told Treehugger,

"[The company] was founded in 2009, and over the past decade we’ve watched thrift go from stigmatized to celebrated. This year in particular, concerns about rising prices and limited inventory have converged with concerns about how our purchases impact the environment. As a result, consumers—especially Gen Z—seem to be considering secondhand gifts more than ever before. thredUP’s holiday report indicates that gifting thrift is a trend that’s on the rise, and that’s good news for our wallets and the planet."

Need we mention the uniqueness of thrifted gifts, as well? You can find real gems in a shop or on a retail site like thredUP—items that stand out, that are unusual, that appeal to a person's quirky interests. 

So, the moral of the story is that you should not overlook the thrift shop when figuring out where and how to give gifts this year. Do yourself, your friends, family, and home planet of Earth a favor by buying something that's already been made and used. And thanks to thredUP's report you'll know that others are doing the same thing—and that the people lucky enough to get your gifts will be open to it, too.