“There’s More to It Than Buying Cheap Clothes…” A Qualitative Study of Second-Hand Clothes Shopping in the Szeklerland Region (Transylvania, Romania)

Laura Nistor


The literature on second-hand consumption contends that such practices started to become more and more popular and their spread can be linked both to austerity and reflexive, ethical consumption. The purpose of this descriptive-exploratory qualitative investigation was to study the motivations of shopping for second-hand clothes and how such practice is structured among interviewees who described their clothes shopping behaviour as being centred around second-hand shops (i.e. they usually buy their clothes from second-hand settings). Interviewees are residing in Covasna and Harghita counties of Romania (alsko known as Szeklerland), i.e. in a relatively disadvantaged region of the country. The narratives showed that the interviewees prefer to shop in second-hand settings due to economic, hedonistic, and, to a lesser extent, ethical-environmental motivations. Thus, second-hand consumption seems to be a matter of indulging contexts and affordable opportunities. The results confirm those previous findings of the literature according to which even in economically disadvantaged contexts second-hand consumption can have more diverse explanations than austerity. Other results showed that extrinsic cues, i.e. quality, price, shopping atmosphere count a lot, while conspicuous cues such as brand are less important. Interviewees differ in whether they prefer to visit second-hand shops alone or in groups, but in each of the cases hedonist motivations are equally accentuated.


second-hand shops, thrift, austerity, hedonism, ethical consumption, Romania, qualitative study

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14267/CJSSP.2022.1.4


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ISSN: 2062-087X

DOI: 10.14267/issn.2062-087X