Why thrift will be the next big retail trend

Thrift is increasingly going mainstream and a Gumtree survey estimates it could be worth more than R1trn in terms of items in SA households that are not being used, that the owners would happily sell.

According to Claire Cobbledick, general manager of Gumtree SA, the trade in second-hand goods is huge.

"Globally, analysts are calling out second-hand buying as one of the biggest retail trends of the next decade but, locally, there's little attention paid to this under-the-radar economic phenomenon," she says.
 
"A very rough calculation shows potentially R1bn in the value of unused, good condition cell phones alone in South African homes."

She adds that it is estimated that about two second-hand cars are sold in SA for every new one.

Overall, in her view, the "resale economy" is set to grow substantially in the next five years. In her view, this is due to factors like the tough economic situation in the country and environmental considerations.

"It has even become trendy to downscale...to strip back to basics and to get rid of everything you don't need," says Cobbledick.
 
She anticipates that as more and more South Africans get smartphones and when data costs finally move downwards, there will be an increase in online second-hand trading.

She believes there is a massive amount of money "moving around" the country for second-hand goods. She points out that this, therefore, has all kinds of unreported implications.

"In many instances, this traffic displaces retail sales. The money that some retailers are losing is not vanishing from the economy, it's simply being spent in other ways - in a smart search for value by consumers in the tough economic climate," she says.

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