Jun 25, 2020
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Sustainability and key labels like Vuitton, Chanel and Gucci drive luxe resale

Jun 25, 2020

European resale specialist Rebelle said this week that sustainability is the main reason for many consumers buying secondhand and that the Covid-19 crisis has boosted demand for luxury investment pieces, as well as the number of commercial sellers.


In a special 2020 Resale Report, it also said the demand for vintage pieces is growing and that there are clearly differentiated label preferences between the biggest consumer markets in Europe.

It’s the first resale report from the online marketplace for pre-owned designer fashion, which has over two million monthly users worldwide. And it gives an interesting snapshot of what shoppers in Europe are looking for and buying, as well as which brands are holding their value best.

Founder and CEO Cécile Wickmann said: ”The interest in secondhand fashion is growing. Seven out of 10 German women with an affinity for fashion already buy secondhand fashion or can imagine doing so within the next six months. Forty five percent regularly resell their unworn clothes, only 16.4% of them do that at the flea market. The majority now uses online marketplaces, such as eBay, Kleiderkreisel or Rebelle.”


The report showed that 58% of consumers want to buy more secondhand in the future while 49% want to cut back on their fast fashion purchases. Meanwhile 43% want to focus on quality and buy more sustainable brands.

The top-selling sustainable brand is Stella McCartney and while sustainability issues are often seen as being most important for younger consumers, the report also showed that Gen X (the 40-55 age group) is the cohort to see sustainability as the most important reason to buy secondhand. 

Overall, Louis Vuitton is the most popular brand in Europe and 75% of pieces by the label sell within the first 12 weeks. It’s followed by Gucci and Prada to round out the top three. Louis Vuitton has number one spot in Germany, but Gucci is top in the UK and Italy, while Chanel is the favourite for French consumers and Prada for the Spanish.

Other popular labels include Dior and Balenciaga, both of which have seen more people searching for them this year, while MCM remains in the top 10 but has slipped from fifth place to seventh.

In terms of key items, the best-selling pre-loved designer piece in Germany is the Sac Noé by Louis Vuitton. The silk carré by Hermès is the top seller in the UK, while Italians like to buy the Falabella Bag by Stella McCartney. 

Wickmann added: “We see differences in buying and selling behaviour in Europe. Italy, for example, is a classic seller of secondhand fashion. Hungary leads the way in terms of negotiating, and Dutch people buy more pre-loved dresses than customers from other European countries. In Germany, too, the market is very diverse. Hamburg women tend to wear classic brands such as Chanel or Tod's in muted colours. In Düsseldorf there is an increasing demand for logos, such as those of Gucci or Dior, and people from Berlin sell the most.”


The demand for vintage (items 25 years old or more) is also on the rise with a 19% increase year-on-year. 1980s and 90s bags and jewellery from Chanel and Louis Vuitton are “particularly in demand”. And Hermès silk carrés, plus long blazers by Yves Saint Laurent or Etro are also “in great demand right now”.

And consumers are spending heavily on some key pieces from both vintage and more recent collections. The highest returns for sellers last year were achieved in three key categories: handbags, watches and jewellery. Hermès, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Gucci have the highest resale value and some bag models held their values spectacularly well.

The Hermès Birkin Bag 35 even sold for an average of 34.5% above the current new price last year. The Louis Vuitton Pochette and the Hermès Constance are also among the top classic investment pieces. The Hermès Kelly and the 2.55 from Chanel are also suitable as long-term investments.

The company also said that counterfeiters seem to be working harder and making their output less easy to distinguish from the real thing. Some 8% more counterfeit products have been offered on Rebelle in the last year, although they never reach the consumer and its authenticators return them to the sender straight away. But it’s “striking that the quality of the imitation is getting better and better”.

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