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Mitumba Businesses Thrive Online As World Celebrates World Earth Day


Kenya is witnessing a sporadic rise in Thrift Stores-small online businesses selling second-hand items from clothing, antiques, housewares, Art, seasonal items and even furniture. The Latest Thrift with Google search trends reveals there has been a 160 percent rise in two terms, ‘Thrift meaning’ and ‘Thrift Stores’ revealing Kenyans’ interest in upcycling and recycling.

The search trends released during this year’s commemoration of the World Earth Day shows most searches mainly originated from Mombasa, followed by Nairobi. The concept of thrifting has become a necessity due to economics while for others, it is a fun way to hunt down the out of the ordinary. World Earth Day is a reminder for mankind to protect and safeguard the mother earth and its species, to make Earth a better place for the coming generations. April 22, 2022 will mark 52 years of Earth Day.

Sharon Machira, Google’s Communications and Public Affairs Manager in Kenya said, Google is committed to helping thrifters (customers) and businesses that sell thrifted items discover the latest thrifting trends and thrift stores. “Since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, new data from Google Search Trends reveals that Kenyans have taken a particular interest in searching for ‘Thrifting’; the buying and selling of second-hand items that have been gently used. The global fashion industry accounts for 10% of carbon emissions; therefore, Kenya’s interest in upcycling and recycling items is a win for the planet,” said Ms Machira.

Thrift with Google enables shoppers to easily locate thrift stores discovering the latest thrifting trends while small business operators get the benefit of listing their stores on Google Maps for better discoverability. Thrifting has also witnessed a sharp rise in Thrift content development on YouTube where thrift store owners have channels to promote their wares.

According to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), a review of the period between 2016 to 2020 showed that Kenyan traders spent Sh 485 billion to import 751.3 tonnes of second-hand clothing. Second-hand items are mostly shipped in via Mombasa Port and via JKIA airport in Nairobi.

To support small businesses Google launched a small businesses portal, Google for Small businesses, a one-stop shop solution to help small businesses find the solutions and guidance they need to get online and grow. The portal enables businesses to get increased visibility with customers finding products they are looking for with ease.