• Saturday, May 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nigeria’s surging inflation fuels boom in second-hand shopping

NBS report on growth, population signal stagnating economy  – Economist

A growing number of people in Africa’s biggest economy are now buying used clothes, shoes, wigs, and accessories as inflation cuts down on real wages.

Second-hand items popularly known as Thrift or Okrika have gained a lot of traction in the country in recent years on accelerating inflation – that is eroding consumers’ purchasing power and dollar scarcity.

Tope Idowu, a civil defense officer and mother of three, said the current economic situation has made it difficult for her to buy new clothes for her children, thus resulting in buying second-hand clothes.

“I have three boys, when they were younger I used to buy them only new clothes. The situation of the country has taught me how to economize as the bulk of their clothes are second-hand,” she said.

Read also: Naira scarcity frustrates Nigerians, worsens cost of living

“I only buy new clothes for outings, because most of our income goes to food and rent,” she added.

Idowu like millions of Nigerians has resulted in purchasing second-hand items to survive the current economic hardship and accelerating inflation.

According to the latest report by NBS, the inflation rate accelerated to 27.3 percent in October.

The report showed that clothing and footwear are the third most contributing factors to the increase in inflation after food & non beverage alcohol and housing water, electricity, gas & other fuel.

Bimbo Adelabi, a single mother and civil servant said second-hand items are cheaper alternatives for a lot of struggling Nigerians.

“Everything is expensive in Nigeria now, especially food. With food, there are no alternatives, but for clothes, I can buy second-hand items that are of quality,” Adelabi said.

“This is why markets like Yaba, Asuwani, and Katangua will keep thriving. They afford the average Nigerian’s clothes and other second-hand items,” she said.

Anthonia Chukwu, an accountant in a top secondary school at Ikeja said she has been buying fairly used wigs as she cannot afford to buy new ones.

“Prices of relaxers and attachments for braids have tripled within the last year. I decided to cut my hair as I can no longer afford to maintain it,” she said.

Read also: CBN alerts on fake naira notes in circulation

“I ended up keeping natural hair and wearing wigs. Wigs are cheaper to maintain and since I can’t afford the new ones, I buy the second-hand wigs and they are as good as the new ones,” she noted.

Last year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) put the number of Nigerians living in multidimensional poverty at 133 million, compared to 82.9 million considered poor in 2019 by national standards.

The Japa wave has also fueled the second-hand market. Nigerians migrating to other countries are usually forced to sell most of their household items at distressed prices, creating a new second-hand market online.

Chuks Obinna, a trader of second-hand items said his brother who is based in Belgium regularly sends the items for him to sell.
“My sales have increased tremendously.

Nigerians are now buying second-hand used pots and other accessories for their use,” he said.
Ayo Dunsin, sales and market officer at a food company told BusinessDay how she got all of her appliances from an online vendor that sells items she bought from people migrating.

“I bought my wardrobe and other appliances from a declutter page on Instagram, they were all items from people that have traveled,” Dunsin said.

“It was cheaper than buying new items. During my search, I discovered there are lots of these kinds of declutter pages selling second-hand items of people that are migrating.”

Tosin Olasehinde, founder of MoneyAfrica last year posted on Twitter talking about how Nigerians are now moving to Ready to Wear (RTW) over shopping from popular brands like ASOS, and Primark due to FX issues.

“Lot of people that used to shop on ASOS are turning to RTW Nigerian brands because of the exchange rate. RTW brands, this is your time to shine,” she said.

Her comments were flooded with people complaining that these “Ready To Wear” meant to be alternatives to popular foreign brands are even more expensive and some said they are now turning to “Thrifts’ ‘ otherwise known as “Okrika .”