Pocketbook to Planet–A Thrift App Could Save Both


While perusing St. Vincent de Paul’s 50% off all clothing and books sale this past Sunday and Monday, I stumbled upon more than just an exceptional sale. I discovered a way to save college students money for fashion, which could significantly reduce their carbon footprint!

Banana Republic, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Worthington, Black & White Market all became snazzy new pieces of my wardrobe. I spent less than $35.00 for seven new-to-me work outfits.

University of Oregon, Lillis Building Complex–students pass by the area I surveyed students five months ago for research on the impact of social media on thrift consumerism

During my elated shopping spree, I kept thinking that if my local resale stores all had some sort of social media platform to advertise their latest and greatest treasures, more people would want to take advantage of our second-hand stores.

5th Ave “the Sak” purse found at local St. Vincent de Paul store for less than $10.00

Out of curiosity last December, I asked students from the University of Oregon if a blog or app would help encourage potential thrifters shopping habits. The shocking results surpassed my initial optimistic estimations by a large margin.

100 surveys were quickly answered by students about their social media usage, shopping habits, and willingness to shop thrift more often if a blog or app was available for local thrift and resale stores.

I wanted to know if local second-hand stores participated in such a concept, while updating it daily with their most recent and highest quality items, would it inspire more customers? The blog/app would allow people to simply scroll down on their mobile devices or computer to see pictures, prices, and locations of what they could buy in the local thrift market.

A flattering 25% of the study immediately requested to have said hypothetical app or blog put on their phones for use. They wanted to download and start using this concept right away! My fear of there being a lack of demand for thrift was quickly deterred.

The data resulted in three categorize: “Never Shop Thrift” students who have visited a resale store, “Infrequent Frugalers” who sometimes, once every six months or more might stop into a thrift store for a quick peek, and “Savvy Shoppers” those who utilize second-hand stores several times a month.


Never Shop Thrift:

30% of surveyed students did not shop at in in resale or thrift stores. Of those students, 63% stated an app would inspire them to give resale a chance. There is a huge demand of thrift store shopping among students who are looking for alternatives to save money while in school.

Infrequent Frugalers:

An impressive 71% of the 31% of students who sometimes shop resale or thrift said that an app or blog would definitely turn them into more frequent shoppers. These are students who know about the stores, but, like myself while I was a student, simply did not know where to find what they wanted.

Savvy Shoppers:

I was extremely proud when almost 40% of the students I questioned stated they shopped regularly in thrift. 69% of those frequent shoppers claimed an app would increase their shopping experience significantly.

What does this mean for our thrift economy and planet? A simple app would increase profit among University students, it could be used as free advertising for shops, and be a huge advantage for those hunting the greatest treasures for the best price.

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