Swapping Replacing Shopping? Swaps On The Rise For Cash-Strapped Millenials


Even though  we’ve long known that creativity is the key to staying stylish and financially solvent, there was a time not so long ago that suggestions of frequenting thrift stores (Goodwill shout-out!) and holding clothing swapping parties were met by some with a resounding “meh”. The world has changed however, and the perception of “gently used” with it.  According to a recent Bloomberg story , struggling retailers are fighting a new trend of frugality – yep, an old favorite of ours, the swap. Turns out the next generation, saddled with practically unprecedented economic challenges, are shopping less and swapping more.

“Clothing swaps are a hot ticket for Americans aged 18 to 34. Millennials attend swap house parties from New York to San Francisco. And they gather online, frequenting such sites as Swapstyle.com, which has swelled to more than 55,000 members since its 2002 founding.

Frugality has become a way of life for a cohort weighed down by student-loan debt and high joblessness, according to WSL Strategic Retail. In a WSL survey, 80 percent of respondents aged 18 to 34 said it was key to get the lowest price on most things they buy, up from 69 percent two years earlier and the only change among the three age groups surveyed.”

Online swap sites, meet ups and swapping phone apps are bringing the practice into the digital age, and putting swap opportunities front and center, which we love.  Saving cash, cleaning out our closet, AND getting something awesome (and new to us) to wear for Saturday date night?  Score.

While we totally applaud the practicality of the swap movement, we do have concerns for those on the flip side – retailers who, in this economy, are already facing an uphill battle for survival.  That being said, meeting new and evolving demands is the nature of the retailing beast, and can only mean better shopping deals for us.

Now, if only we could find someone who’d like to swap a gently-used Coach bag for that lovely teal bridesmaid dress that’s roosting in the back of our closet, we’d be all set.


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