16 Facts about Consignment Shopping That'll Blow Your Mind

Consignment stores have become a staple for today’s conscientious shoppers. Not only can you score great deals and reduce your carbon footprint, but joining the consignment world also means embarking on a rich journey rich of sustainability, trends, and style. From celebrity endorsements to economic insights, keep reading to learn interesting facts about the consignment landscape past, present, and future.

History of consignment stores

The idea of “consignment” and “thrifting” was mostly unheard of until the late 19th century. Prior, everyone wore clothes until they were used up or out of style. Tailors would then rework the materials into a new piece for the wearer. It was rare that clothes were thrown out or resold.

But the Industrial Revolution changed that. Buying new clothes became more affordable and accessible, and everyday goods became more “disposable” in the eyes of consumers.

At that time, though, people still didn’t want to buy used clothes. There was a social stigma against used clothes and a racial stigma against those who sold used goods.

history of consignment shopping

But soon, Christian ministries looking to fund their outreach programs saw a business opportunity in reselling items. The Salvation Army launched its “salvage brigade” in 1897, where residents would sell used clothes and, in return, receive food and lodging. This made reselling more commonplace around America and reimagined the social aspect of purchasing used goods.

During the 1920s, thrift stores became almost as popular and widespread as emerging department stores. By 1935, there were over 100 thriving Goodwill stores nationwide.

High-end consignment shops started to arise in the 1950s, selling coveted vintage clothes to wealthy consumers. This again shifted the idea of consignment. Purchasing used clothing was no longer a necessity but a luxury. This was the start of what would evolve to become a long-lasting consignment craze.

history of consignment shops

As our society has become more financially, socially, and environmentally conscious in modern times, consignment stores and thrift shops have become even more prevalent. Consignment has become the hottest way to buy and sell clothing. In fact, the secondhand market is projected to reach $350 billion by 2028. 

Keep reading for modern facts about consignment stores.

1. Consignment fashion is eco-friendly.

As society becomes more aware about environmental health, consignment shopping is quickly becoming the newest fashion fad.

  • According to ThredUp’s 2021 Resale Report, buying a used item instead of a new one reduces the piece’s carbon footprint by 82%.
  • A study in the Journal of Cleaner Production found that quadrupling the average lifespan of a cotton T-shirt results in 75% savings in freshwater usage.
  • A Waste and Resources Action Program study found that extending the average life of clothes by just three months of active use leads to a 5-10% reduction in carbon, water, and waste.
  • A 2016 report by the Nordic Council of Ministers found that reusing and recycling textiles saved Nordic countries the equivalent of 425 million pounds of CO2 and 19 billion gallons of water annually. That’s the same CO2 amount as about 42,000 cars and a water usage of about 174,0000 American households.

Every time you buy on consignment, you’re directly helping to reduce the carbon footprint and water usage of the fashion industry. For those who care about environmentalism and the future of our planet, consignment shopping is more than just a budget-friendly alternative … It’s the key to long-term sustainability for the fashion industry. 

consignment sustainable fashion

2. Celebrity consignment is increasingly popular.

Consignment shopping has become one of the hottest trends in fashion thanks to its sustainability, one-of-a-kind offerings, and unique buying experience. Tons of celebrities and influencers have made consignment shopping even more popular by expressing their style with secondhand clothes. 

  • Helen Mirren said she sometimes doesn’t pack clothes when traveling and will just hit the nearest thrift or consignment store after she’s touched down in a new city.
  • Macklemore wrote a song about thrift shopping because buying secondhand makes him feel unique and out-of-the-box.
  • Sarah Jessica Parker buys only secondhand clothes for her son after watching “The True Cost,” a documentary about the labor conditions in the fashion industry.
  • Julia Roberts is often seen at consignment stores, as she and her children love the sustainability of secondhand shopping. She has even worn preloved dresses on the red carpet.
  • Lorde likes finding affordable secondhand pieces that fit her taste without breaking the bank.
  • Anne Hathaway loves the style and affordability of vintage clothing, and she wore exclusively vintage clothing on a recent press tour.

3. Consignment shopping is an economic must.

Consignment shopping is popular amongst wealthy celebrities and in times of prosperity, but it’s equally vital during recessions. During economic downturns, consignment shopping has proven to be nearly recession-proof, as people search for ways to save money without sacrificing style.

A piece by the New York Times discussed how thrift shops and consignment stores are essential to cut costs when fixed-price goods like gasoline and groceries are on the rise.

Check out more economic benefits of supporting consignment stores here.

4. Many designer handbags hold their value.

consignment shopping facts

Well-cared-for luxury handbags from designers like Chanel and Hermès often hold their value – or increase in value – over time. This means that if you buy a luxury handbag, you may be able to resell it for a similar or higher price in the future, making it a solid financial investment. Buying and selling on consignment is a fun way for fashionistas to play around with fashion investing. Check out this list of the top 15 brands to sell on consignment.

But it’s not just bags. Many designer clothes hold their retail value and resell for an excellent price. Current Boutique works diligently to curate high-value designer clothing, jewelry, and accessories that are still affordable to our customers.

5. The resale market is booming.

Future Market Insights estimates the secondhand apparel market is valued at $43.49 billion in 2024 and will reach $125.18 billion by 2034. It’s expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 11.1% in the next ten years.

We attribute this growth to more people becoming aware of the financial and environmental advantages of consignment shopping and the changing perceptions of how “cool” clothes are those that suit your style and lifestyle rather than what box stores push on consumers each season.

As resale booms, we’ll likely see a shift in how big brands approach seasonal trends and offerings.

More facts about shopping consignment

fun facts about consignment shopping
  • Consignment shops and thrift stores are not the same thing. Learn the difference between their price points, shopping experience, and retail offerings here.
  • Consignment finds are timeless. Most consignment shops, like Current Boutique, offer classic, high-quality pieces that never go out of style.
  • Consignment shopping is budget-friendly. You can find high-end designer brands at a fraction of their original cost.
  • Different consignment stores have different styles. Current Boutique caters to the chic fashionista who wants to build a unique, specialty wardrobe of high-quality pieces.
  • Consignment shops often have knowledgeable staff who carefully curate items for resale, ensuring a high-quality and authentic inventory.
  • Consignment shopping promotes conscious consumerism, encouraging shoppers to think before buying and making solid investments in pieces they truly love.
  • You can find unique secondhand pieces you can’t find at big box stores or fast fashion retailers. These one-of-a-kind pieces can better reflect your personality, style, and self-expression.
  • Wearing preloved clothes is like storytelling. Secondhand pieces come with a history of love and wear, adding to their charm.
  • Consignment shopping has blossomed worldwide, thanks to online store options. You can shop big brands like ThredUp or small businesses like Current Boutique right from the comfort of your home.
  • Many consignment stores are independently owned and operated by small business owners, so shopping on consignment supports small business and contributes to the local economy.
  • Consignment shopping promotes circular, slow fashion. It encourages the reuse and recycling of clothing rather than buying into fast fashion trends, creating a more mindful approach to fashion consumption.

Discover even more benefits of consignment shopping here.

Consignment stores are the future

Thanks to their sustainability, affordability, unique experience, and increasing popularity, consignment stores are inspiring shoppers to make more meaningful and mindful fashion purchases. The next time you step into your favorite consignment boutique, remember you’re not just buying clothes – you’re joining a movement that’s reshaping how the fashion world works.

Start browsing Current Boutique’s newest finds right now


Photo Sources: Salvation ArmyConsignment store historyEconomic downturn

Carmen Lopez, President & CEO www.currentboutique.com


Hello Fashion Lovers! I've been in the fashion industry for over 15 years. I started Current Boutique with the desire to recycle amazing pre-loved designer gems for others to enjoy! I value quality, unique craftsmanship, sustainability & saving money. I am a fashion lover who is energized by the challenges and rewards of being an entrepreneur. I'm here to share tips on fashion, style, bargain shopping and business. I hope you enjoy!
XOXO, Carmen