Secondhand Clothing Industry in Kenya


Kenya is one of the largest importers of secondhand clothing in sub-Saharan Africa due to its consumption and export of secondhand clothing to other countries. The used clothing industry contributes annually to government revenue. There is demand for used clothing in Kenya. For a significant proportion of people, their income can only be used to purchase secondhand clothing; as opposed to new clothes.

In 2019, Kenya imported 185,000 tons of secondhand clothing; which resulted in 12 billion ksh in tax revenue for the government. In addition to taxes, there are also fees, permits, licenses that are paid to the government. The industry employs an estimated 2 million Kenyans. Other industries are directly linked to the used clothing industry, such as transport, warehousing, insurance; among others.

Research shows that the majority of households only purchase new clothing when they have to purchase school or work uniforms.

91.5% of households buy second-hand clothes worth Ksh 1000 and below, 8.5% buy second-hand clothes worth Ksh 1000 and above.

The secondhand clothing imports makeup 1% of all imports’ economic value and 2.5% of private spending.

The purchase of 100 second-hand items of clothing would save between 60 to 85 new garments and a reduction of impacts resulting from collecting 100 garments for reuse ranging from a 14% decrease in global warming for the cotton T-Shirt to a 45% reduction of human toxicity for the polyester/cotton trousers (Farrant, Olsen and Wangel, 2010).

Read the full report with the link below:

Source: The State of Second-Hand Clothes and Footwear Trade in Kenya

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