The consignment industry booms during pandemic, experts expect its profit to double in 5 years

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Posted at 8:03 AM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 08:03:28-05

(WXYZ) — The consignment business sector is seeing a major boost in sales.

Experts say the heightened prices of fast fashion items and furniture may be driving the trend.

Local stores on the other hand credit the increased popularity to stay-at-home orders and thrift-savvy Tik Tok users.

In this economy, a new pair of boots or couch doesn't come cheap. That's why people are turning to second-hand stores. Because they're getting good-quality items for a fraction of the price.

Steve Humphreys, owner of second-hand shop Vogue Vintage says since the pandemic, his business has really started to boom.

"People seem to have some money and you know, we have the right things that they want and can't find elsewhere," Humphreys said. "You know you can run all over the city trying to find a wooden coffee table nobody even has one, we might have three of them."

Economics professor Allen Goodman said COVID-19 has drastically changed consumer behavior.

People do have more money because up until recently they weren't using it to go on vacations and or eat out every night.

Stay at home orders also meant people had a lot more time to clean out their closets and dust off their gently used furniture.

Melanie Williams, owner of Regeneration Clothing said when she re-opened her doors customers were anxious to shop and sell.

"The first day we opened after quarantine our regulars were waiting outside," she said. "I'm going to start crying just thinking about it, but it was just really beautiful to reconnect again and see someone so excited to come back and shop."

According to a resale report by Thred Up, an online consignment giant, the secondhand market is expected to double in the next five years reaching $77 billion. That projected growth is driven by more sellers putting better products into the market.

"I think also people are realizing like you know we have Gucci shoes for 80 bucks and that's a great deal," Williams said.

The number of first-time buyers of secondhand clothes jumped by 33 million last year. Williams credits that in part to Tik Tok users and the realization that fast fashion is not so great for the environment.