Thrifting in the Philippines: Part 2 | Thrift by Humble

In the second and final installment of this two-part series, we’ll dig a little deeper on traditional thrift shops and explore digital thrift shops in more detail. We’ll also cover what makes Thrift by Humble different from all the other thrift shops you may have encountered in the past! 

Are you new to thrifting? Check out our Thrifting in the Philippines: Part 1 blog for an overview of this economical, environmentally-friendly and fun shopping experience. Once you’ve read it, come back here to finish learning about thrifting in our country!

What is a digital thrift shop?

A digital thrift shop is a thrift shop that utilizes electronic technology (such as computers, the internet, online selling platforms, software applications) to produce, keep and organize its information and conduct its daily operations.

A simple example of this would be a thrift shop that records its inventory using a computer spreadsheet and stores it on the computer or the cloud. Another example is a thrift shop that takes photos of its pre-loved items, adjusts the photos’ brightness using a photo editing software and uploads them to its own e-commerce website. A third example would be a thrift shop that has its own application and sends push notifications to its customers (who installed the app on their mobile devices) informing them of new arrivals in the store. 

What’s the difference between traditional and digital thrift shops?

The main difference between a traditional thrift shop and a digital thrift shop is their adoption of technology.

Racks of clothing in a thrift shop.

Traditional thrift shops, which comprise a huge chunk of ukay-ukays here in the Philippines, rely on manual processes such as listing their inventory using pen and paper and manually counting their remaining inventory inside their stockroom. Digital thrift shops are technologically-driven; they use different electronic tools to run their business. 

To help you better understand the differences between these two types of thrift shops, see the table we prepared below:


Traditional thrift shop

Digital thrift shop

How the store looks like

Brick-and-mortar store

Can be a brick-and-mortar store, e-commerce store or both 

Inventory management tools

Pen, paper, notebook or record book

Computer or tablet, inventory management software, spreadsheets


Mostly fashion items (bags, clothes, shoes)

Can be limited to one category (i.e., fashion) but can also include items from other product categories (e.g., home, electronics, sports)

Sales and marketing tools

Posters placed on their doors and windows

Email newsletters, in-app push notifications, social media posts

Customer base

Limited to passersby and thrifters within the community 

Can include passersby, thrifters within the community and beyond, social media influencers

Mode of payment

Cash only

Can be cash, e-wallet, credit or debit card

Why is Thrift not an ordinary thrift shop?

Unlike traditional thrift shops selling pre-loved items, Thrift by Humble is a digital thrift shop selling brand new and high-quality products at really low prices from top-tier brands. Most of the products sold on Thrift have never been used.

Thrift also differs from ordinary thrift shops in terms of its mission and social impact. Unlike ordinary thrift shops that exist primarily to generate profit for the business owner, Thrift promotes circular living and builds a community where anyone can bring anything back to circularity. As an extension of the circular economy startup Humble Sustainability, Thrift exists primarily to inspire and enable humanity to help the earth, starting with one item. 

A large landfill with a yellow landfill bulldozer in the center.

Buying from Thrift gives you more than the best deal; it also gives you the opportunity to minimize your carbon footprint. The items sold on Thrift—excess inventory and returns from e-commerce, retailers and logistics providers—are headed for landfills, which are notorious for producing greenhouse gasses and contributing to our climate crisis. Choosing to buy from Thrift will save these items from ending up in landfills and make a tangible, positive impact on our environment.

In other words, shopping at Thrift (whether through our platform, Shopee or Lazada stores)  empowers consumers like you to do something extraordinary: protect our planet, one item at a time.

What product categories can they find in our store?

Another difference that Thrift has from ordinary thrift shops is its diverse selection of products from a wide range of categories. 

Many thrift shops in the Philippines sell only fashion items, but Thrift takes thrifting to a whole new level by offering products from other categories.

Here’s the list of product categories available on Thrift:

Automotive and motorcycles

Babies and toys


Electronic accessories

Electronic devices

Home and living

Men’s fashion and accessories

TV and Home appliances

Women’s fashion and accessories

Filipino thrifters, unite!

We hope our two-part blog helped you understand and appreciate thrift shops and the overall practice of thrifting in the Philippines better!

Before you leave this page, we’d like to share with you one more interesting trivia about thrifting:

Did you know that among our Southeast Asian neighbors, we Filipinos are the biggest thrifters? A study found that the affordable price of secondhand items is the number one reason why Filipinos buy from thrift stores. The fact that we have been exposed to traditional thrift shops for nearly four decades may also explain our cultural acceptance and propensity for thrifting. 

As our perspectives and ways of thrifting evolve, we expect that more Filipinos will join us in viewing thrifting as more than a way to save money. Through our digital thrift shop, we aim to empower Filipinos to take small but concrete steps to help our planet.

Thrifting is, and has always been, a strategy of frugal consumers. Let’s take it one step further and use it to bring positive and long-lasting changes in our planet.