• Gen Z have a desire to have a wardrobe that defines who they are 

• Find out why thrifting is so popular with Generation Z? 

Second-hand thrifting is one of the best ways to shop where you find things nobody else is wearing and get to make them your own.

The secondhand clothes market was worth about $28 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $64 billion in 2024, according to the 2020 Resale Report by ThredUp and GlobalData, leading fashion resale platforms.

The Latest Thrift with Google search trends reveals there has been a 160 per cent rise in two terms, ‘Thrift meaning’ and ‘Thrift Stores’ revealing Kenyans' interest in upcycling and recycling. 

Also known as mtumba in Kenya, secondhand clothes shopping has become so much more popular with the younger generations because they have their own sense of style.

bale prices for mtumba go up
mitumba toy market bale prices for mtumba go up

Why is thrifting so popular with Generation Z? Gen Z have consumer characteristics that, for example, make them adopt secondhand items 2.5 times faster than any other consumer.

Gen Z, unlike the older generation, are the most active on social media and for instance, on Instagram, they feel the need to have multiple outfits to post with. They don't want to repeat clothes and so thrifted items have more economic sense.

Sharon Machira, Google’s Communications and Public Affairs Manager in Kenya said, Google is committed to helping thrifters (customers) and businesses that sell thrifted items discover the latest thrifting trends and thrift stores.

 “Since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, new data from Google Search Trends reveals that Kenyans have taken a particular interest in searching for ‘Thrifting'; the buying and selling of second-hand items that have been gently used. The global fashion industry accounts for 10% of carbon emissions; therefore, Kenya's interest in upcycling and recycling items is a win for the planet,” said Ms Machira.

Thrift with Google enables shoppers to easily locate thrift stores and discovering the latest thrifting trends while small business operators get the benefit of listing their stores on Google Maps for better discoverability. Thrifting has also witnessed a sharp rise in Thrift content development on YouTube where thrift store owners have channels to promote their wares.

Another reason is they have a desire to have a wardrobe that defines who they are and show the world who they are.

Thirdly, Gen Z is happy to contribute to sustainable fashion and is much more inclined to support this cause by buying second-hand. They are much more aware of these things than the older generation.

Fourthly, Gen Z is into the digital space and browse websites where they feel supported. The digital space has changed the idea for those GenZ members who don't feel like leaving home to shop. It's ordered, and deliver from the comfort of their bedroom. Eazy peazy.

Another reason for Gen Z loving mtumba is because they have lots of friends and this offers an opportunity for them to hang out. Just watch the crowd for instance that goes to Toy Market. Groups of girls hang out, helping each other discover unique pieces.

They have found their own sense of style. While many older people will term it as weird, Gen Z generates buzz online amassing a huge following showing us that thrifting will not end anytime soon.

One more thing Gen Z loves thrifting is, because of reselling. Many of them have hustles buying and reselling mtumba. Their Instagram and Facebook pages are filled with customers waiting for notifications.

Whether or not you shop second hand, it is becoming a big part of today’s college culture.

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