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Second-hand clothing shopping among college students: the role of psychographic characteristics

Ruoh-Nan Yan (Department of Design and Merchandising, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA)
Su Yun Bae (Department of Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA)
Huimin Xu (School of Management, The Sage Colleges, Albany, New York, USA)

Young Consumers

ISSN: 1747-3616

Article publication date: 20 April 2015




The study aims to examine whether and how second-hand clothing shoppers differ from non-shoppers on various psychographic variables, including environmentalism, perception of contamination, price sensitivity and perception of vintage clothing. Additionally, this study hopes to uncover whether and how the aforementioned psychographic variables help predict second-hand clothing shopping behaviour, specifically shopping frequency at second-hand clothing stores.


Data were collected through a survey method from 152 college students.


Results showed that college students who shopped at second-hand clothing stores were more likely to be environmentally conscious, more sensitive to higher prices and more likely to wear used clothing to express a vintage look and to be “green”, and to perceive used clothing to be less contaminated, as compared to those who did not shop at second-hand clothing stores. This study concluded that, among college students, second-hand clothing shoppers may do so not only for economic reasons but also for creation of style and feeling special about themselves.

Research limitations/implications

This study suggests that college students who shop at second-hand clothing stores are different from those who do not shop at second-hand stores in terms of their environmental attitudes, perceptions of contamination from used clothing, sensitivity to prices and how they feel about vintage clothing. Further, financial concern (i.e. price sensitivity) is no longer the only reason for second-hand clothing shopping.


Little research has been conducted to understand second-hand clothing shopping behaviour among college students. This study examined multiple psychographic variables and provided insights into college students’ second-hand shopping behaviour.



Yan, R.-N., Bae, S.Y. and Xu, H. (2015), "Second-hand clothing shopping among college students: the role of psychographic characteristics", Young Consumers, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 85-98.



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