The Sales And Usage Of Second Hand Clothing Among Nigerians

Project and Seminar Material for Sociology

The Sales And Usage Of Second Hand Clothing Among Nigerians


This study investigates the sales and usage of secondhand clothing in Alimosho local government area of Lagos State. Certain conditions compel individual into taking decisions and actions. Sales and usage of secondhand clothing is a major occupation, for which, Igbo people are famous. With the economic downturn, more Igbo people have taken to the sales of secondhand clothing. Today, sales of secondhand clothing are no longer exclusive Igbo affairs. Government policy has caused inflation, which has in turn, deprived people employment and even choices in terms of wears. As a result, patronage of used clothes that was a character of the low income earner, and people with no or low education, has become an attraction to educated folks as well as medium income earners. Market liberalization which

allowed for the importation of goodsatreducedcostsintoNigeriaprovidedopportunityforSecondhandClothing Trade to expand. Thus because locally manufactured garments are retailed expensively, these apparel have become highly marketable and affordable to consumers. With the number of ‘mitumba’ apparel traders increasing rapidly, the local industry has been threatened to the point that many textile and clothing industries have either closed down or become redundant. Data were collected from a random sample of 65 secondhand apparel traders drawn from three market centers in Lagos. Having startup capital and providing high quality merchandise to consumers were major motivating factors to respondents that ventured into this business. Therefore the study recommends that local apparel traders adopt these factors, to increase their business viability and success

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

The sales and usage of second hand clothing has been a contemporary issue in Nigeria which cannot be overemphasized. Secondhand clothing (SHC) traces their origin from wealthy westerners who contribute their obsolete clothing as donations to charity organizations (Dougherty, 2004; Slotterback, 2007). Larger charities first sort through the donations to add to their stock stores and then sell the surplus to secondhand clothing dealers to help generate funds towards assistance programs. Slotterback (2007) reported that about 80% of the donated clothing is usually sold to secondhand clothing merchants. The merchants sort the secondhand clothing by condition and then categorize in groups which they bundle in bales whose prices vary according to quality of the contents. Clothing merchants from the importing countries visit the offices of exporters to ascertain the quality, negotiate the price, pay for the bales and then ship the clothing to the country of origin (Olumide, 2011). It has been observed presently that Nigeria and Kenya is one of the largest importers of secondhand clothing (locally referred to as ‘Okirika, Benddown boutique and Tokunbo while Kenya called it “Mitumba’ meaning ‘onslaught’) in Sub Sahara Africa respectively.

Buying behaviour according to Dawson et al (2006), are set of attitudes that characterize the patterns of consumers’ choices. Apart from the essential internal factors, which are recognized as influential to buying behaviour, there are a number of external situational contexts that affect consumer choices. Consumer behaviour is a combination of customers’ buying consciousness and external incentives which are likely to result in behaviour remodeling. The society’s culture such as norms, philosophies, settlement, customs religion, festivity, class, lifestyle and other subculture influence how individual consumers buy and use secondhand products, and help explain how groups of consumers behave. There has been a current need for individuals and families to develop sustainable ways of living. One of the important areas of sustainable living is through maintainable clothing and textile consumption. Maintainable consumption is using resources in a way that minimizes harm to the environment, while supporting the well-being of people (OECD, 2008). Maintainable clothing or fashion consumption is the use of clothing for purposes beyond utilitarian needs which is achieved while enabling thefuture generations to meet their needs (Nordic Initiatives, Clean and Ethical (NICE, 2012). Secondhand Clothing trade (SHCT) represents an insignificant proportion of the total global trade in clothing (0.5%), more than 30% of the imports goes to the Sub Sahara African (SSA) countries (Baden & Barber, 2005). Despite being overtaken by imports from Asia to Africa, the use of Secondhand Clothing still significant.

According to Mangieri (2006) and Slotterback (2007) opined that having increased drastically since 1990 the global Secondhand Clothing trade (SHCT) is worth more than USD 200 billion each year with almost all countries in the world becoming involved in it either as exporters, processors, re exporters or importers. Used clothing markets exist in over 100 countries globally (Slotterback, 2007). The United States, the Netherlands and Japan participate in SCHT as major exporters while the developing countries like Nigeria are the major importers and consumers of secondhand clothing (Baden and Barber, 2005).

1.2 Statement of Problem

The economic downturn of the past has affected nearly every segment of the Nigeria economy of the past has affected nearly every segment of the Nigeria economy .The sales and usage of secondhand clothing is one of the business, people are engaging themselves with and its increasingly gaining ground in Nigeria. The rapid increase of population unemployment is one of the major factors pushing many individuals to sell and buy secondhand clothing, all over the world.

Nigeria as a country is posed with a lot of problems, which includes poverty, unemployment, lack of resources, and low wage income is making individuals sell and use secondhand clothing.

Typically, the importation of used clothes would result in a downward shift of the demand curve in the new apparel industry. According to studies (Slotterback 2007) many reasons accounts for the sales and usage of secondhand clothing.

  1. Unemployment among individuals.
  2. Poverty, both relative and absolute poverty.
  3. Low wage income and lack of better job opportunities.

1.3 Research Questions

In this study, an attempt was made to provide answers to the following questions:

  1. What are the benefits of Secondhand Clothing Trade?
  2. What are the Strategic Business Practices Used by Second-Hand Clothes Traders?
  3. What are the Lessons to be learned by Nigerian Textile and Clothing Industry?

1.4 Objectives of Study

The main objective of this study is to investigate social construction of sales and usage of second-hand clothing in Alimosho local government area of Lagos metropolis. This is however divided into the following sub objectives;

  1. To know Benefits of Secondhand Clothing Trade?
  2. To ascertain the Strategic Business Practices Used by Second-Hand Clothes Traders?
  3. To examine Lessons to be learned by Nigerian Textile and Clothing Industry?

1.4 Significance of Study

This study will be of great importance to policymakers in the sense that it will be an assistance to make rightful and necessary policy that will encourage and favorable to Nigerian textile industry, individual have found that thrift stores often reflect the community in which they reside and quality clothing with the tags still in some wealthier neighborhoods. Also, Goodwill found to be expensive, as far as thrift store goods or cloth cheaper than new one. Their prices are definitely higher, but it does seem that they do a better job of filtering out junk, spouses often believe that the level of income determines the purchasing power, researchers and general public in the sense that it will assists them to know the adverse effect of social construction of sales of usage secondhand clothing, causes and solution to the consumption.

The Nigeria Demographic Health Survey(NDHS) significantly emphases that an ideal vehicle for studying not only the linkages between secondhand clothing usage and health and demographic outcomes. This study will help to solve current or existing problem as it affect Textile Company in Nigeria. It will also help the government in terms of planning and budget revenue in the appropriate ways putting all things into consideration such as what the people so desire. This study would raise various suggestions and recommendations that will go a long way to minimize these problems and their attendance effects. Student writing their research project on similar topic will be guided as the finding and recommendations will be serve as a map, pointing them to the path to treat. Undertaken a study of this nature will expose the researcher to rigorous and challenging exercise of writing a project, which need a lot of concentration handwork and patience.

1.5 Scope and Delimitation of Study

The study is designed to investigate the social construction of sales and usage of second-hand clothing in Alimosho local government area, Lagos metropolis. Specifically, the scope covers social construction of sales and usage of second-hand clothing in Iyana-Ipaja, Egbeda and Ikotun area of Lagos State. This covers:

  1. IyanaIpaja (Kantagwa Market)
  2. Ikotun( Ikotun Market)
  3. Egbeda (Egbeda Market)

This study is utmost important simply because the researcher discovered that most of the people living in the aforementioned area prefers secondhand clothing to new one due to the presence of large markets in that area such as Ikotun BRT Terminal and Kontogora market. This research study, like any other research is bound to have limitations, through these limitations does not have significant effect on the validity of the study. This include:
Insufficient fund to carry out the study. It should be noted that money will be needed for transportation to the field, typing and printing etc. and shortage of it (money), may affect the proper scrutiny of this study. Also inadequate information from the respondents serves as another major factor that may affect this research exercise. More so, shortage or inadequate time to carry out the research work cannot also but mentioned among those other factors that serves as a constraints to this study.

1.6 Definition of Terms

For better understanding of the various terms related to and in this research project, it is necessary to briefly define these term m their general meaning and specific contextual application to the topic under discourse:


In general, a transaction between two parties where the buyer receives goods (tangible or intangible), services and/or assets in exchange for money.

Social Construction:

This is perception of consumer towards any social phenomenon and the meaning attached to it. Social construction is something you might not be aware of. You are somewhat living in segregation depending on what gender, race and class you are. Race, class and gender don’t really mean anything. They only have a meaning because society gives them a meaning. Social construction is how society groups people and how it privileges certain groups over others.

Secondhand Clothing:

Items of clothing that have been previously owned by someone else. Besides, second-hand or used good is one that is being purchased by or otherwise transferred to a second or later end user. A used good can also simply mean it is no longer in the same condition as it was when transferred to the current owner. When “used” means an item has expended its purpose (such as a useddiaper), it is typically called garbage, instead. Used goods may be transferred informally between friends and family for free as “hand-me-downs” or they may be sold for a fraction of their original price at garage sales or in church bazaar fundraisers.


Usage is defined as the way that something is being used, or to the proper way to make use of something such as a word or phrase or tool.

Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Conclusion

This study demonstrates that secondhand clothes traders are amazingly resilient. Though apparel traders had received some formal education, it appeared that their age, position in business and source of merchandise significantly influenced the types of apparel they sold. Knowledge on such issues as selecting merchandise that appealed to clientele, being a good salesperson, using eye-catching visual merchandising techniques to display clothes, planning for the future and enjoying one’s occupation was prevalent among the traders. These factors contributed to increased sales.

Secondly, used clothes businesses have sectoral linkages which range from handling, transport, laundry/dry cleaning, repairing (mending) and distribution. These forms of business interactions have inherently indirect linkages to other sectors such as manufacturing. So although it is argued that second-hand clothes businesses do not experience significant growth in terms of employment, in fact there is a higher growth when indirect employment is generated as a result of sectoral linkages with other businesses.

5.2 Recommendations

Thus this paper makes the following recommendations to all stakeholders in Nigeria’s textile and garment industry;

  1. Local fabric/garment producers need to address themselves to the socio-economic factors influencing secondhand clothes traders to prefer these imported items. Attention should be given to the implications on local production and marketing if the local industry is to meet consumer needs satisfactorily.
  2. Advertising as a way of informing consumers especially Nigerians on merchandise available from the local industry, its good quality and suitability for use will form a clear link between the industry and consumers since production is of no significance if sales are not being made. The industry should strive to make high domestic sales so that exportation makes a small contribution to business performance. Domestic sales will make local industries almost self-reliant.
  3. The Nigerian government through the Nigeria Bureau of Standards (KEBS) need to monitor quality of locally produced clothing so that consumers within and without Nigeria are not disappointed.
  4. The impact of secondhand clothes businesses on Nigeria’s industrialization is not known. There is need for more research to evaluate the impact of this business on the development of Nigeria’s textile industry and employment creation. Key questions like; what proportion of income generated by small scale enterprises do second-hand clothes businesses constitute? Is this business enterprise worth while to be allowed to continue in Nigeria considering the current prevailing economic situation.

The Sales And Usage Of Second Hand Clothing Among Nigerians

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The Sales And Usage Of Second Hand Clothing Among Nigerians


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