Survey says business is booming at thrift stores across Canada
A new PayPal survey shows more Canadians are turning to thrift stores as a way to save some cash.
About a third of Canadians surveyed said they're buying second-hand goods more than once a month. Seventy-three percent said they do so to make their money go further, while 42 per cent of Gen Z Canadians are thrifting frequently.
At The Perfect Find, a thrift store in Kitchener, staff said foot traffic has picked up within the past 18 months – even topping pre-pandemic levels.
“I was not a thrifter, and you just become enveloped in it. I am such a thrifter now. It's very hard for me to shop other places,” said store manager Gwen Hamming.
Hamming said many people are looking for a deal in a high inflationary environment.
“A lot of times, we're about a quarter of the retail price,” said Hamming. “We have people that come specifically on Saturday to get clothes for a dollar.”
Discount lovers in Kitchener said it’s a good place to find unique things.
“I'm more of a niche shopper. I kind of like finding old vintage stuff, CD's, or like old classic movies or books,” said more shoppers.
“Prices here are so much cheaper than the mall. You go to the mall you can afford one shirt. You come here you can afford several items. You can afford a new outfit for the weekend,” said another shopper.
The manager at the new Goodwill in Waterloo said the second-hand surge is easy to spot.
“We've been seeing growth every single year ever since I’ve been at goodwill which is almost ten years,” said Rainer Voigt, the eastern regional manager at Goodwill.
Voigt said 1,200 customers came on opening day, but typically around 500 customers are expected on a regular day.
He said there’s been a 15 to 20 per cent increase in foot traffic year over year across his stores.
“With everything that's going on globally within our economies — sustainability, circularity, reusing, reduce, trying to eliminate waste into landfills; it falls right into what goodwill does,” he said.
In addition to the cost crunch driving traffic to thrift stores, re-sellers and those who enjoy the thrill of the hunt are keeping second-hand stores a first-rate business.