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How Online Shopping Adds to the Global Problem of Abandoned Clothes

More used clothes are ending up in the garbage. We’re buying more fast fashion, which cycles in and out of style quickly. Even though overall clothing sales fell sharply during the pandemic, e-commerce apparel sales grew steadily. We had to make room for the new stuff, and time stuck at home prompted us to clean out our closets, overwhelming some charities with donations.

The donated clothes you hoped would have a second life in your community might also end up recycled into products like industrial rags, carpet padding, or home insulation.

Sometimes, they’ll be shipped in bales to Ghana, Uganda, Malaysia, and other countries, where retailers will sift through the clothes looking for prizes. Some e-commerce returns also end up shipped overseas, according to the Rest of the World. Every once in a while, an enterprising vendor overseas will sell a high-quality item to someone in the US by listing it on Etsy or eBay.

E-commerce is fueling the cycle. By 2021, online sales accounted for nearly half of all apparel purchases, according to Digital Commerce 360. That year, e-commerce apparel purchases rose 25%, to $181 billion.

When ordering online, shoppers tend to buy more clothes than they plan to keep. More than half of shoppers told e-commerce customer service company Narvar in 2021 that they buy multiple sizes of the same product with a plan to return what doesn’t fit. Some companies even let customers keep clothes that don’t work out, giving them even more clothes to donate or throw away. 

Though it’s difficult to quantify, e-commerce appears to drive more purchases of clothes, said Neil Saunders, a retail analyst at GlobalData. Online shopping has exposed shoppers to more brands than they’d see in their local mall, and it makes it possible to shop any time of day, he said.

“When there is more opportunity to shop, there is more impulse buying,” Saunders said of apparel.

The post How Online Shopping Adds to the Global Problem of Abandoned Clothes appeared first on The Khaama Press News Agency.



Source: The Khaama Press News Agency

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