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Factors affecting consumer acquisition of secondhand clothing in the USA

Pamela Norum (Department of Textile and Apparel Management, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA)
Marjorie Norton (Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA)

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management

ISSN: 1361-2026

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to explore factors affecting secondhand clothing acquisition among a sample of US female consumers based on an economic perspective.


This research is descriptive in nature, utilizing a survey of 500 US female consumers to explore relationships between five modes of secondhand clothing acquisition and selected consumer characteristics. Logistic regression was used to analyze the data.


The significant variables were income, age, number of toddlers and children ages 6-17 present in households, and sewing and repair skills. Income was found to be negatively related to purchasing secondhand clothing, suggesting that consumers view used clothing as an inferior good. Consumers in Gen Y were more likely to be involved in various means of secondhand clothing acquisition, holding income constant, than Baby Boomers.

Practical implications

Overcoming the stigma of inferiority associated with secondhand clothing, encouraging repair skills, and the repair of clothing, reaching out to consumers to build on their interest in DIY projects, and utilizing new technology (e.g. apps for sharing clothes) are practical implications.


The paper examined multiple modes of clothing acquisition rather than a single mode, and contributes insight regarding the economic concept of secondhand clothing as an inferior good.



Norum, P. and Norton, M. (2017), "Factors affecting consumer acquisition of secondhand clothing in the USA", Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 206-218.



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