Second Hand Clothes in Kenya

Second hand goods for sale
Second hand goods for sale

Kenya is one of the world’s largest importers of second hand clothing commonly referred to as “Mitumba” in Kenya.

Traders at the Adams Arcade second hand market
Traders at the Adams Arcade second hand market

The clothes are mainly donations from Western Europe and North America intended for the poor in Africa and other parts of the world. This however has not stopped businessmen from selling them and making huge profits.

Clothes and shoppers at the Adams Arcade market, Nairobi
Clothes and shoppers at the Adams Arcade market, Nairobi

Although second hand clothes trade in Kenya is declining due to the increase of new imports from Asia, it still remains significantly high. The trade has clear consumer benefits. This is especially true in countries with low purchasing power.

Used books
Used books

In Kenya, second hand clothes offer an affordable alternative to the costly Asian imports. The second hand clothes are not only for the poor, those who earn a good income also opt for these clothes as they can buy designer labels and unique garments at an affordable price.

Second hand shoes and socks
Second hand shoes and socks

The trade supports thousands of livelihoods in Kenya. Second hand clothes trade employs people in trading, distributing, repairing and laundering the clothes. These people would have otherwise been unemployed with no means to support themselves and their families.

Ladies’ shoes
Ladies’ shoes

Apart from clothes, other used items are also traded including toys, shoes, accessories and books.

Second hand designer bags: Gucci and Louis Vuitton

Although the second hand clothes imports have undermined the textile industries in Kenya, they have provided more affordable choices for Kenyans and employed many, hence a welcome trade.