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Luxury resale sees spike in high-value purchases under Covid-19

Published
Aug 26, 2020
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Consignment marketplace The RealReal’s latest annual luxury resale report has highlighted a shift towards high-value purchases during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as other growing trends, including the rise in popularity of stealth luxury and luxury streetwear.
 

The RealReal's latest report is based on data from the platform's more than 17 million users - Photo: The RealReal


Sales of high-value jewelry on the platform have accelerated particularly strongly over the last year, growing 22 times more than sales of low-value jewelry. Sales of high-value handbags and watches grew 2.4 times and 6 times more, respectively, than sales of low-value items in the same categories.
 
“Despite the current economic climate, shoppers doubled down on safer investments from established luxury brands offering timeless styles and strong resale value,” explains the report.

With consumers turning to firmly established names, Louis Vuitton topped the list of the most in demand luxury brands on The RealReal this year, knocking Gucci and Chanel into second and third place, respectively, while Prada and Hermès rounded out the top five.
 
Luxury brands have also begun to gain ground in streetwear resale, with Balenciaga even becoming the most in demand brand for items in the category over the last year. Streetwear stalwarts Adidas x Yeezy, Supreme, Nike and Off-White completed the top five, but it was another luxury brand – Givenchy – which took sixth place.
 
With both shoppers and consigners spending more time at home due to shelter-in-place protocols, it should also come as no surprise that many seem to have decided to make changes in their domestic environments. The RealReal has seen a 24% year-over-year increase in demand for home items, with consignments of home items also soaring 150%.
 
In the last quarter alone, 26% more has been spent per home item vs. apparel, while home consignments have increased 77% since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
 
The health crisis has also fueled wider participation in the resale market more generally. The RealReal has seen a 27% increase in new consignors since the start of the pandemic, with 37% of new arrivals in the second quarter being Gen Z or millennials.
 
“In a bright spot during these difficult times, brands, shoppers and consignors alike are engaging in the circular economy,” said Rati Levesque, COO and head of merchandising for The RealReal. “Gen Z, millennials and men are the new faces of luxury shopping, and the brands in tune with what they want are rising to the top.”
 
Among trends highlighted by the report, so-called stealth luxury has also begun to gain the edge on the logomania that has been dominating the luxury sector recently. Demand for understated handbags, for example, was nearly 5 times stronger than that for statement handbags over the last year, while sales of more subdued men’s styles grew 2.4 times more than statement styles.
 
The RealReal’s Resale Report 2020 is based on sales and demand data from the platform’s more than 17 million members.

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