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

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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