Purchasers and consignors of secondhand clothing in consignment stores

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The research investigated acquisition and disposition behavior of purchasers, purchasers/consignors, and consignors of secondhand clothing in consignment stores. A questionnaire was administered to 168 women and two men in three Roanoke, Virginia stores. It was hypothesized that (1) long-time purchasers (three to five years) patronized other secondhand sellers more than short-time purchasers (two years or less); and that purchasers (2) acquired (a) primarily to save money and (b) secondarily to have well-made clothing, (3) bought two to four times a month, and (4) were satisfied with stores' merchandise and services. Hypotheses 2a and 4 were supported but 1, 2b, and 3 were not. A hypothesis that consignors consigned to obtain a return on clothing investments and get rid of unwanted items was supported. Friends were important information sources about stores.

Chi-square analysis indicated that respondent groups were similar demographically, in the types of clothing they purchased and/or consigned, and in the uses of clothing purchased. Host respondents were Caucasian, 30-49 years old, and often had baccalaureates or other post-high school education. Twenty-seven percent of the respondents had total household incomes of $40,000 or more. The most frequently purchased and consigned garments were shirts or blouses. Purchasers and purchasers/consignors used purchased clothing primarily for social occasions. Purchasers and consignors differed on the number of years they had been patronizing stores and on their purchasing and consigning frequencies. Also, more purchasers than purchasers/consignors patronized flea markets and garage sales.