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By Kristen Bahler
November 9, 2017
Dan Brownsword—Getty Images

Over the next six weeks, Black Friday impulse buys, ill-conceived secret Santa gifts, and unwanted presents will start to flood the second-hand market.

And clothing is an item people love to dump.

According to ThredUP, an online thrift store that lets users buy and sell clothes directly, their inventory swells to more than 2 million items every holiday season — 200,000 of which still have the tags attached.

A few items cycle through shopper’s closets faster than others.

Last year, North Face fleeces spiked 80% from December to January 2017, thredUP says. Activewear, in general, is the most frequently purged item after the holidays — Under Armour shorts also went up 80%, and Nike workout shirts rose 76%.

Graphic Courtesy of thredUP

This may seem counterintuitive, as the start of the New Year is when people attempt fitness-focused resolutions, and flock to the gym to work off holiday calories. But consumers are picky about the style and fit of their workout gear, and they’re loyal to their favorite brands, says Karen Clark, head of marketing communications at thredUP.

“Purchasing activewear as gifts might be risky,” she says.

Black Friday shopping also contributes to thredUP’s holiday uptick. In 2016, the site saw a huge spike in jeans from November to December. The three most chronically resold brands, it says, were Express (250%), True Religion (150%), and J. Crew (145%).

Graphic Courtesy of thredUP

“Denim has a notoriously difficult fit,” Clark says. “Shoppers are potentially taking advantage of these deals to buy denim for themselves, then regretting the purchase soon after.”

Regrettable holiday purchases contribute to a 34% bump in mint-condition items, Clark says. Many of these shoppers see online thrifting as an alternative to long holiday return lines — thredUP sends sellers pre-paid shipping bags, and lets them schedule a pickup through USPS.

The company’s customer base spans ages and income brackets — a 2017 sales report shows that millennials and customers who are 65 and older make up 30% and 32% of their demographic, respectively.

The moral? Aunt Ruth isn’t the only one who fumbles her holiday shopping list every year. We’re all pretty bad at it.

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The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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