The economic shock caused by the pandemic has significantly shaken the second-hand clothing market. As a result, almost 500 stores closed permanently in Hungary. The good news is that – after a significant 25% decline in 2020 – the second-hand market has started to revive this summer, and further recovery is expected in the upcoming period.
As the Hungarian news portal Világgazdaság reports, at the end of 2019, there were still 5,462 second-hand clothing stores in Hungary; however, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, this number dropped to fewer than 5,000 within a year.
The economic crisis and pandemic restrictions caused significant difficulties to every second-hand clothing distributor.
Háda being one of the leaders in Hungary – with more than 80 stores – has been on the market for more than 25 years. Even though it managed to survive the economically critical period caused by the pandemic, the large chain had a significant loss of revenue – from EUR 32.8 million (~HUF 11.6 billion) in 2019, it dropped to EUR 21.8 million (~HUF 7.7 billion) in 2020 due to multiple store closures. The company is currently looking for 30 shop workers. The salary is not far behind that of boutique sellers. The monthly gross average in May 2021 was EUR 654 (~HUF 231,000) for enterprises with at least five employees, and nearly EUR 722 (~HUF 255,000) for boutiques.
Among the smaller second-hand clothing stores, Humana – running 11 stores – has revenues of around EUR 2.8 million (~HUF 1 billion), one-tenth lower than in the pre-Covid period, while Cream (with 6 stores and two outlets) has 20% lower revenue as a result of the pandemic.
In addition, there are also foreign distributors in the Hungarian market, such as the Sofia-based Remix, which is present in 9 European countries and also runs an outlet, reported Hungarian news portal Pénzcentrum.
At first glance, the second-hand clothing market seems to be tiny compared to the new clothing market. However, considering the price-value ratio, many people prefer this option. In second-hand stores, products are much cheaper, and people usually buy clothes in kilos, so the amount of second-hand clothes in the population is significant, accounting for roughly a quarter or a fifth of the total amount of clothes.
The good news is that – after a significant 25% decline in 2020 – the second-hand market has started to revive this summer, and further recovery is expected in the upcoming period.
In the second quarter of 2021, the turnover jumped by 64% compared to the same period of the previous year, which predicts that the demand for second-hand clothes is finally recovering in Hungary. This is partly due to the online purchase solutions already available in larger networks, as well as loyalty cards providing discounts to returning customers.