Get Thrifty: The introduction of thrift culture in India

By Nashita Tejani

  • Clear color scheme for the app and website
  • Multiple photos and clear descriptions for items
  • Allow sellers to u videos of the item
  • Labeled buttons and icons
  • Save payment information with fingerprint/face ID
  • Offer assistive voice technology/Voice command technology
  • Offer multiple language options (English and Hindi)
  • A dark mode to help with vision impediments
  • Allow sellers to collect reward points to get featured on the explore page

I investigated what obstacles people faced and their underlying desires in respect to second-hand purchases. Two user research methodologies were used.

Surveys: To learn about user demographics (gender, age, income, and location + lifestyle, values, interests) and to help me understand topics that I can further dig into during my interviews.

Qualitative Interviews: To acquire a deeper knowledge of the customers’ shopping habits, expectations, perspectives, needs, and motives.

Whose problem am I solving?

I recruited participants based on my hypothesis of the primary users who shop online and who shop for second-hand clothing. My hypothesis included participants that matched the following criteria:

  • Age range 18–30
  • Have purchased second-hand clothing at least once in the past 6 months
  • Users who speak English and Hindi

Survey Findings

I send out a Google Form that asked quantitative questions regarding people’s demographics, shopping interests, and positive and negative attitudes on thrift store shopping. I collected 47 responses — below is the summary of my findings:

  • Eighty percent of women and twenty percent of men buy secondhand or are interested in doing so.
  • Currently, 96 percent of the participants live in urban regions.
  • The most common age group thrifting was 18 to 28 years old.
  • They are mostly motivated to shop secondhand due to social and environmental concerns.
  • More than once a month, 3/4 of the participants come across fashion e-commerce websites.

Quotes From Interviews

I conducted in-depth interviews with four different individuals, making sure to have diversity when it came to their experience with thrift shopping, their budget, and fashion taste. Below are some of the quotes that stood out to me:

“I don’t always have the money to buy brand new clothes as a student, so thrifting is a terrific choice for me.”

“I don’t like shopping at certain secondhand stores because some of the garments are photographed in a way that doesn’t appeal to me.”

“It is not possible to search for items in Instagram thrift stores. I can’t find the specific thing I need .”

“I want to sell some of my things, but I don’t know how to find someone who will buy them, so they’ve been sitting in the closet for a long time.”

“Everything is sold out by the time I check my Instagram feed, and keeping track of fresh drops from so many thrift shops is kind of exhausting.”

Interview Takeaways

  • Key Takeaway #1: People do have the desire to give their clothes a second home but don’t know how to reach out to people who buy them.
  • Key Takeaway #2: Browsing through various thrift stores to find a product they like is a tiring process so they end up being lazy and shop from brands they already know.
  • Key Takeaway #3: People abandon shopping because items sell out quickly.

Desk Research

There are now only a few places in India where you can buy and sell used clothing. Since the issue of fashion waste was brought to the public’s attention in the mainstream media two years ago, a slew of secondhand boutiques has cropped up on Instagram. During the COVID outbreak, sales of these stores increased. Because Instagram usage among young people is already high, thrift businesses have found a means to make their presence known during people’s free time.