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The second-hand clothes market in Africa

The second-hand clothes market in Africa

The second-hand clothes market in Africa

African people love wearing second-hand clothes

Second-hand clothes are extremely popular in Africa

African people love wearing second-hand clothes

A friend told me that during his working time in Nigeria, many outdoor markets were selling second-hand clothes. Some Chinese people living in Africa are kind of repellent to second-hand clothes. But for local Africans, their greatest joy is scouring the open-air markets for second-hand clothes. Most of the clothes in Nigeria come from China, you can even see the Chinese labels and characters on the clothes. Walking down the street, you feel like you’re still in China.  

He had a subordinate, a local Nigerian who has a great preference for second-hand clothes. Everything he wears is second-hand, his jackets, pants, as well as his shoes, my friend even believes that his underwear is also second-hand. And of course, his mobile phone is also from the second-hand market. Second-hand products are very popular in Africa. There are several factors for the popularity, the low income of Africans is the main reason. They also want to buy high-end brands, but they literally can’t afford them. 

Once, this Nigerian went to work wearing a second-hand jacket. When my friend saw the Chinese characters on the back of the clothes, he couldn’t help laughing. “When did you go to high school in China?” “What do you mean?” the Nigerian asked. “You are wearing a Chinese school uniform” my friend pointed at his jacket. This man did not feel embarrassed but felt very proud to wear a school uniform. He said, he could only do this hard work because he didn’t get a good education, and he’d like to get more school uniforms for his kids. Some Nigerians can speak a few words of Chinese, but they barely know Chinese characters, so they can’t read the Chinese printed on the clothes. There are many Chinese engaging in the business of second-hand clothes in Nigeria. They purchase second-hand clothes in China, clean and reprocess them, and then export these clothes to the African market. These second-hand clothes value only a few cents per catty(Chinese weight unit ,1 catty=0.5 kg)in China but can be sold for more than 10RMB in Africa. Second-hand clothes from China are favored by Africans. Africa’s large population may result in demand exceeding supply. China, which exports used clothes to Africa, has a good opportunity. It is understood that China’s recycling of old clothes because there is no professional processing institutions, waste of old clothes caused serious environmental pollution. In Africa market in short supply and waste of resources under the condition of the two sides complement each other in China, Chinese businessmen found old clothes export is to have a good development prospect, for example, guangzhou ancient rice, hazen, they mainly old clothes export, to provide professional services, to provide high quality raw materials, and so on, has made a contribution to alleviate the shortage of the African market, For China to provide employment opportunities and alleviate the waste of old clothes resources made a contribution to promote the development of economic globalization.We think these second-hand clothes are very outdated, but to Africans, they are very stylish.

The point is, these second-hand clothes are super popular in Africa. Compared to branded clothes that cost hundreds of RMB in shops, they prefer these cost-effective second-hand clothes. Not only do the poor buy second-hand clothes in outdoor markets, but many middle-class people also like to buy second-hand clothes. These clothes printed in Chinese have become a regular sight in the Nigerian streets.   

Second-hand clothes are extremely popular in Africa.

In Africa, you can buy a ton of clothes which are mostly used clothes donated by people for free with only a few thousand RMB. These vendors can make $150,000 a day in Africa on old clothes that we find no more use for us!  

Outside of Africa, many unwanted clothes are donated to charities. These charities sell them in bulk for £500 per ton to a second-hand clothing recycling company, after that these recycling companies ships them to Africa for sale at a higher price. After middlemen repriced the clothes, they are finally sold to the African people at the “highest price”. 

Africa is the largest importer of clothes in the world, and Accra, the capital of Ghana is the destination for used clothes. You can see bales of used clothes everywhere on the floor there. People who come in will take one bag of clothes. Accra is the largest importer of Africa that dominates the wholesale market of used clothes. And they mainly do business with the British businessmen, these businessmen usually sell all packaged of old clothes to them. There are thousands of bundles of goods shipped from the UK every three days, up to thirty thousand tons per year. The revenue is over 50 million pounds or about 450 million RMB.  

In Ghana, people call second-hand clothes “Obroni Wawu”, which means the clothes of the dead white people. These second-hand clothes are super popular because they are so affordable. With 50 cedis or 75 RMB, you can buy a lot of clothes. You can only buy one or two pieces with 50 cedis in the local store, so Ghanaians often buy clothes in the second-hand markets. The disadvantage is that the clothes were worn by others, but the advantages are also obvious. Wholesalers all wear second-hand clothes and they have plenty options. Some light luxury brands like MARKS & Spencer and Calvin Klein sometimes appear in the market.

The second-hand clothes market in Africa

These used clothes that we think are worthless have formed a huge industrial chain in Ghana. The wholesalers of second-hand clothing can make an amount of profit, some can even earn 100,000 cedis a day, around 150,000 RMB, it’s lucrative. Second-hand markets are very noisy and crowded with stalls selling second-hand clothes where people swarm into select their favorable items. When new bundles of clothes arrive, Asay will pick out the best clothes he thinks of and classify them in the premium selves to be sold. His shabby, cluttered stall is filled with British light luxury brands. He says that compared with the loose-fitting clothes of the Americans, Ghanaians prefer the slim ones of British people. But selling second-hand underwear is strictly banned in Ghana due to health and safety concerns. However, where there is demand there is supply, used worn underwear can still be found in the stalls.Second-hand clothes are sorted into three classes there. Tirst-class clothes were designed by top designers with good quality and without broken parts. Usually, young people from the city crave fashion and buy these clothes, and they have enough money. Ripped clothes are classed as second class, almost everyone in Ghana wears second-class clothes, even the ones with a better living standard. Third-class clothes are the cheapest clothes, and they are the top choice for the poor. Vendors often bring the clothes to villages and sell them to residents at a few cedis. Besides Accra, these clothes are also sold in every region of Africa.

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