the 2022 thrifting report

Written by Daena
24.05.2022, 15:43

Which are the best cities around the world for thrift shopping?

Thrift shopping has exploded in popularity over recent years, attracting more environmentally conscious shoppers who want to lower their carbon footprint by avoiding fast fashion and find some amazing bargains too.

Many shoppers have taken to charity shops and flea markets to find the perfect new addition to their wardrobe, finding everything from one of a kind vintage pieces to recycled jewellery. But which city can be crowned the best for finding those hidden gems?

The team at jewellerybox have delved into the data to find out, analysing the number of
vintage shops, charity shops and flea markets in each city, and the prices of clothing too.

The best cities for thrift shopping around the world

  1. Las Vegas Thrift Shopping Score: 8.8
    Sin City takes first place in our index, scoring highly thanks to having the most vintage and second-hand shops relative to the population. The city is also the place to look for cheap clothing, taking third place for the factor.
  2. Dallas Thrift Shopping Score: 8.4
    This city in the Lone Star State of Texas takes second place, ranking in the top 10 for vintage and secondhand shops. If you’re looking for flea markets and charity shops, however, you’ll be disappointed as the city ranks relatively low for both factors.
  3. Milton Keynes Thrift Shopping Score: 8.2
    Taking third place is Milton Keynes. The town of Buckinghamshire is one of the world’s best spots for vintage fashion thanks to its large proportion of charity shops, ranking first in the factor. Milton Keynes also takes third place for the proportion of flea markets and car boot sales.

The best cities around the world for…

Vintage and secondhand shops per 100,000 people

  1. Las Vegas 35.5 per 100,000 people
    As well as being a Mecca for culture and entertainment Sin City is also the perfect place for vintage and second-hand shops. Las Vegas has a whopping 35.5 per 100,000 people making it ideal for finding the next unique pieces for your wardrobe.
  2. Krakow 31.2 per 100,000 people
    The southern Polish city takes second place for the factor, with a thriving scene of second-hand and vintage shops. These second-hand shops chock full of hidden gems are especially popular as their curated selections make it very easy for you to find rare vintage or designer clothing for really low prices.
  3. Portland (Oregon) 30.8 per 100,000 people
    It’s no surprise Portland Oregon takes third for vintage and second-hand shops. The city is very eco-conscious and passionate about living sustainably, creating a high demand for vintage and thrifted clothing. This makes it a paradise for you to find second-hand bargains.

Charity shops per 100,000 people

  1. Milton Keynes 39.2 per 100,000 people
    Charity shops are some of the best places for you to find gently used classic outfits for a very low price and support charitable work too. Nobody knows this more than shoppers in Milton Keynes as the city takes first place at just over 39 charity shops per 100,000 people.
  2. Exeter 36.8 per 100,000 people
    Exeter residents are spoilt for choice when it comes to charity shops with 36.8 per 100,000 people. This city in the southwest of England takes second place if you’re looking to find cheap sustainable clothing, and help slow down fast fashion by giving old outfits a new lease of life.
  3. York 26.5 per 100,000 people
    Next up is York. With 26.5 charity shops per 100,000 people, the city is perfect for hunting for hidden treasures. With such a wealth of charity shops, you’re guaranteed to find something unique and built to last whilst supporting a good cause too.

Flea markets and car boot sales per 100,000 people

  1. Cambridge 4.8 per 100,000 people
    Cambridge takes the top spot for this factor, with 4.8 per 100,000 people. Flea markets and car boot sales are full of unique vintage and retro finds that would otherwise be thrown away,making them one of the best places to find second-hand clothes very cheaply.
  2. Frankfurt 3.4 per 100,000 people
    Flea markets are perfect for discovering rare and unique pieces and can offer a wide variety of outfits to browse through to find something truly different. Frankfurt is the perfect European city to hunt for these items, with 3.4 flea markets and car boot sales per 100,000 people.
  3. Milton Keynes 2.6 per 100,000 people
    Taking third place, Milton Keynes has 2.6 flea markets and car boot sales per 100,000 people. Car boot sales in Milton Keynes are a goldmine for thrifty shoppers looking for second hand or vintage clothing and supporting the local economy too.

The cheapest cities for shopping around the world

Next up, we took a look at the total prices for brand new items of clothing in each city. Whilst these prices aren’t taken from thrift shops, the combined totals can be relied on as a good indicator of the differences in clothing prices between each city.

  1. Istanbul £102.64 | $125.31 | €120.41
    The Turkish capital can be crowned the best city in the world for clothes shopping, at just £102.64 ($125.31 or €120.41) for three items of clothing. Even luxury fashion brands are cheap in Istanbul as a lot of clothing is made in the country, so cheap outlet stores are plentiful in the capital.
  2. Kuala Lumpur £111.59 | $136.23 | €130.90
    Next up is Kuala Lumpur, The total for the three items of clothing we looked at was £111.5 ($136.23 or €130.90), taking the Malaysian city to second place for this factor. Clothes shopping in the city is cheap and convenient thanks to it being a centre for clothing manufacturing.
  3. Las Vegas £115.92 | $141.60 | €136.36
    In third, Sin City has some of the cheapest prices for brand new clothing thanks to the large number of outlet malls in Las Vegas. This means the total price for the three items of clothing we looked at comes to only £115.92 ($141.60 or €136.36).

The best UK cities for thrift shopping

  1. Milton Keynes Thrift Shopping Score: 8.1
    The Buckinghamshire town of Milton Keynes can be crowned the best city in the UK for thrifting thanks to its large proportion of charity shops. It ranks second for the factor. Milton Keynes is also one of the best places for car boots sales and flea markets in the UK, ranking in the top 3 and one of the cheapest places for brand new clothing.
  2. Liverpool Thrift Shopping Score: 7.4
    Next up is Liverpool, with the city’s thriving vintage fashion scene landing it in the top 5 for secondhand shops. It also ranks in the top 10 for both charity shops and flea markets and is the cheapest city in the northwest of England for brand new clothes.
  3. Cardiff Thrift Shopping Score: 7.3
    Taking third place is Cardiff, shoppers looking for their next bargain certainly won’t be disappointed as the Welsh capital ranks in the top 5 for charity shops as well as flea markets and car boot sales. It also places in the top 10 for its proportion of vintage shops.

The best UK cities for…

Vintage and secondhand shops per 100,000 people

  1. Nottingham 17.5 per 100,000 people
    Notts is the best place in the UK for secondhand and vintage shops as the city boasts 17.5 per 100,000 people. So if you’re looking for a curated selection of some of the most quirky and unique pieces for your wardrobe, Nottingham is the place to be.
  2. Newcastle 13 per 100,000 people
    If you want to hone your own unique style with vintage finds, Newcastle is the place to look. The Toon has 13 secondhand shops per 100,000 people, making it a Mecca for thrifty fashionistas in the North East.
  3. Manchester 10.6 per 100,000 people
    With 10.6 per 100,000 people, Manchester takes third place for vintage and secondhand shops. Its Northern Quarter is the cultural centre of the city and is teeming with vintage boutiques specialising in 80s and 90s streetwear.

Charity shops per 100,000 people

  1. Milton Keynes 39 per 100,000 people
    Taking the top spot for charity shops in the UK is Milton Keynes, with a gigantic 39 per 100,000 people. This makes it the perfect spot for thrifting, as you’re guaranteed to find hidden gems here for a bargain.
  2. Exeter 37 per 100,000 people
    In second place this Devonshire city is one of the best places in the country to scout for your next big wardrobe find. With 37 charity shops per 100,000 people, Exeter is well worth a visit for eco-conscious shoppers wanting to avoid fast fashion.
  3. York 26.5 per 100,000 people
    York takes third place for this factor, ram-packed full of charity shops at 26.5 per 100,000 people. Charity shops are popular in York thanks to shoppers shifting their focus to more ethical consumption, wanting to lower their carbon footprint by reusing unwanted clothing.

Flea markets and car boot sales per 100,000 people

  1. Cambridge 4.8 per 100,000 people
    As sellers at car boot sales are simply looking to get rid of their old and unwanted clothes you’ll find very low prices and no one knows this more than the citizens of Cambridge. The city boasts the most car boot sales per 100,000 people, taking it to the top spot in our UK ranking.
  2. Milton Keynes 2.6 per 100,000 people
    Taking second place is Milton Keynes. The city offers plenty of opportunities to find treasures at low prices with 2.6 car boot sales and flea markets per 100,000 people. This makes Milton Keynes ideal for keen-eyed shoppers looking for the next addition to their wardrobe.
  3. Portsmouth 1.9 per 100,000 people
    Next up is Pompey, the city is a haven for bargain-hunting fashionistas as it has 1.9 flea markets and car boot sales per 100,000 people. This takes it to third place as one of the top UK spots to bag a bargain outfit.

The cheapest cities for shopping

  1. Coventry £120.19 | $146.96 | €141.10
    Coventry ranks first as the cheapest city for brand new clothing, costing just £120.19 ($146.96 or €141.10) for the three items we looked at. The West Midlands city is packed with the biggest clothing brands on the high street, keeping prices competitive.
  2. Portsmouth £133.33 | $163.02 | €156.52
    This coastal city in the south is next on our list. Clothing is cheaper in Portsmouth due to the relatively low cost of living. The three pieces we looked at cost a total of £133.33($163.02 or €156.52).
  3. Milton Keynes £140.99 | $172.39 | €165.51
    Taking third place is the Buckinghamshire town, Milton Keynes. The town is one of the best places to look for cheap brand new clothing, with the city centre hosting most of the biggest clothing retailers and costing £140.99 ($172.39 or €165.51) in total for the clothing we looked at.

Methodology

We used list articles to build an initial list of the best cities for thrift shopping, giving each city a normalised score out of ten for each factor before taking an average across each of these scores to reach our final overall thrifting score out of ten.


– Vintage and secondhand shops: The number of vintage and secondhand shops in each city per 100,000 people according to Yelp.


– Charity shops: The number of charity shops in each city per 100,000 people according to Yelp.


– Flea markets and car boot sales: The number of flea markets and car boot sales in each city per 100,000 people according to Yelp.


– The total price of clothing: the total price of a pair of jeans, a summer dress in a chain store and a pair of mid-range Nike running shoes in each city according to Numbeo.

– Global population figures: The population of each city according to World Population Review.


– UK population figures: The population of each UK city in 2020 according to the ONS.
Currencies were converted on 05/05/2022 using Google Finance.