secondhand clothing industry in central america

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.

There is currently strong demand for used clothing in Nicaragua. The average worker earns 9898 Cordoba (approximately US$272), therefore it is estimated that with a population of  6.85 MILLION, 80% of the people purchase secondhand clothing and shoes.

80% of Nicaragua's population buys secondhand clothing and shoes


In 2021, 52,500 tons of secondhand clothes were imported into Nicaragua, the nineteenth largest importer in the world.

1.9% of global secondhand clothing imports go to the country.


The secondhand clothing industry generated US$23.7 million in tax revenues and the value of the trade had grown nearly 280% over the previous ten years.

Many of those working in the secondhand clothes sector are doing second jobs in order to earn additional income for the household. According to one observer, secondhand clothes businesses, ‘are located in areas of high pedestrian and commercial flow, they are often informal… and most of the vendors are women who do not have access to other sources of employment.

With inflation rising, there is no doubt that the secondhand clothing industry will continue to grow as the demand for affordable and good quality clothing rises in countries such as Nicaragua, among others.

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