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The gentrification of thrifting and reselling

Thrifting and reselling has become popularized by many teens, but the recent backlash from resellers buying excess amounts of clothing from thrift stores is not as problematic as it is made out to be.

Opinion by Megan Reyes, Staff Writer

A young girl holding a box of beads while browsing through a store. (Photo by Arevik Saroyan/The Valley Star)

The rise of new resellers has sparked a gentrification on reselling apps and in thrifting. The idea of people buying secondhand clothing and reselling it for a profit should not be frowned upon.

Many people have started new hobbies and small businesses in order to keep themselves occupied, entertained and just want to make some extra cash on the side. Thrifting and reselling on apps such as Depop, Poshmark, Mercari, Ebay and other second hand retail shops have become very popular due to Youtubers and influencers buying trendy clothing pieces on these sites.

In an article by Retail Leader, “According to San Francisco-based ThredUp — which was founded in 2009 and now claims to be the world’s largest online thrift store — the global resale market will increase at a 39% annual compound growth rate through 2024, reaching $36 billion. Online sales of secondhand products will increase 69% in 2021 compared with 2019.”

When it comes to thrifting, there are two kinds of people, the ones who resell and the others who find it a necessity to look for various clothing items for themselves. Each individual has their own unique preferences and style. Once the consumer has bought the item, it is their decision to either resell or keep it.

The main issue that many people complain about is how resellers make items more expensive for what they really cost. As a Depop seller, it is important to price the item at a reasonable amount due to the time and labor put into searching for the item, cleaning/repairing it, listing it with a detailed description and interacting with potential buyers. Otherwise, resellers would be operating at a loss cause.

Another reason why reselling platforms price their items high is because most charge commission and shipping fees, so the price a person pays is not anywhere near what the reseller is getting. Depop, for instance, takes 10 percent of the item sold which includes the shipping costs, and since Paypal is necessary to sell on Depop, they also take about three percent of the fees from the item.

With second hand shops being on the rise of fame, there is this false perception of thrift store prices increasing due to the high demand of purchasing vintage/trendy pieces, which is not entirely true.

According to the 2010 and 2020 Goodwill Valuation Guides on their website, Goodwill recommends ranges instead of a flat base price. The upper end of the 2020 range is often three times as much as the 2010 base price.

Treehugger News stated, “Only 20% of clothes donated to thrift stores is actually sold—the rest is thrown away or sold to developing countries, where it puts local textile workers out of jobs.”

The argument is that increased demand leads to scarcity, which results in increased prices. The thing is that most thrift stores have a huge excess of clothing. In this case, higher demand is not leading to scarcity, hence contributing to the increase of thrift store prices. Many will argue that the popularity of thrifting is responsible for the rising prices, but popularity would not directly lead to higher prices without scarcity. The issue is not the popularity, however, but thrift stores taking advantage of the situation and raising prices.

“Many resellers are lower and middle class people operating small businesses, who like myself, use this income to get them through college, stay home with children or an elderly parent, or have a flexible work schedule,” said UCLA college student Jade Lolita. “I hope more people will see the value in it and even try it out for themselves.”

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