The Secondhand Clothing Industry

in Guatemala

secondhand clothing industry in guatemala

3 million jobs will be generated in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua due to the secondhand clothing industry in the next 20 years, the most recent report on the secondhand clothing industry in Central America estimates.


According to the most recent report commissioned by Garson & Shaw to an independent researcher, the secondhand industry will generate 3 million jobs by 2042 in 4 of Central America countries. Guatemala is a leading importer of secondhand clothing worldwide, rating at 9th place in imports in 2020. As a matter of fact, 10 years leading up to 2021,  the growth value of imports of secondhand clothing into Guatemala increased 180%, from $55.6 million USD to $155.7 million USD. In 2021 130,000 tons of secondhand clothes were imported into Guatemala, that is $157.4 million USD worth of used clothing.
There’s evidence to show that 3.4% of global secondhand clothing imports go to Guatemala.

The economic impact is not only for the people of Guatemala, but also for the governments as they receive tax revenues generated by the secondhand clothes industry. In 2021, Guatemala generated $40.2 million USD in tax revenues due to the used clothing sector.

In 2021, the average worker in Guatemala was earning 2356 quetzel (approximately US$304) per month (ILO 2023). In 2019, estimates suggest 54% of the population lived below the poverty line. Household budgets have little room for expenditure on clothing. Family spending on clothing and footwear in the metropolitan region comprises 5.7% of household spending, while at the national level it is estimated at 7%.

This data suggests a high need for low-cost, affordable clothing and is an indicator of why demand for secondhand clothing has remained robust and will continue to grow. 
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