Leading secondhand marketplace The RealReal, has released its latest insights into the luxury resale market in its sixth annual Luxury Resale Report.
The RealReal (TRR) 2023 Luxury Resale Report findings present a compelling narrative of changing consumer habits and emerging fashion trends, revealing that even in a shaky economic climate, the demand for luxury items has not waned.
The RealReal’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Rati Sahi Levesque, highlighted a significant transformation in how consumers approach resale. “As we reported earlier in the year in our January 2023 luxury consignment report, value is driving the adoption and evolution of resale. Value can mean different things to different people, whether they find value in what the item costs, what it reminds them of or what the item evokes emotionally,” she said in a statement.
Notably, the company observed that customers are unafraid to redefine luxury, showing willingness to incorporate diverse styles and eras into their fashion. This indicates a broader acceptance of unique aesthetics and the ability to perceive value in items beyond their monetary worth.
Labels including Valentino, Loro Piana, Miu Miu, St. John, Loewe, and Ferragamo, along with Bulgari, David Yurman and Tiffany & Co. saw increased interest, with bags from Chanel, Fendi, Celine, Louis Vuitton, and Bottega Veneta all showing strong interest. Gucci remained the most-searched brand for the second year in a row in all age groups.
The report also notes a marked rise in the acceptance of items in fair condition. The RealReal’s Chief Merchandising Officer, Samantha McCandless, commented, “Historically, fashion has been about a desire to look a certain way: polished, pristine, and remaining on-trend. But, with the recent rise in fair condition, shoppers have embraced imperfection. They’re willing to buy older, worn items that are made well and still remain beautiful, and they wear them with pride.”
TRR accepts some items in fair condition, such as those from Hermès,
Chanel, Gucci, and Loewe. “Someone who may not be able to afford a Chanel Flap Bag
in pristine condition may be able to engage with the brand in fair, and we’re excited to offer that,” Kelly McSweeney, senior merchandising manager at The RealReal, told WWD.
This approach to imperfect quality items underscores a shift in how luxury and prestige are perceived, moving away from flawlessness to appreciating the character and history behind a well-made, worn item. The recognition of sustainable practices increased 24 percent YoY, TRR noted.
The report found investment shopping is on the rise across all demographics, with increased order averages from Boomers to Gen Z. Older generations saw a 14 percent YoY increase while Gen Z was up 18 percent. Top brands over the last year include luxury powerhouses Chanel and Gucci, with Bottega Veneta and Celine, both known for their understated luxury aesthetic, breaking into the top 10 most in-demand brands list.
“Quiet luxury” also saw an uptick as HBO’s “Succession” helped to dictate the trend.
“Consumers are turning to resale for so many reasons and aesthetics. It’s been so interesting to see the various style codes for emulating wealth emerge — unapologetic luxury, old money, stealth wealth and beyond,” McSweeney said.
With a rigorous process for authenticating luxury goods, TRR has managed to offer a secure platform for buyers and sellers. Its emphasis on sustainability and support for the circular economy further aligns with contemporary values and societal shifts.
The 2023 Luxury Resale Report showcases the resilience and adaptability of the luxury resale market and offers a glimpse into the evolving relationship between consumers and luxury brands. It also emphasizes The RealReal’s significant role in shaping and responding to these dynamic trends.
“Our customers are still buying investment pieces despite recession fears, they’re fine tuning their personal style by incorporating items from different eras and aesthetics, they’re shopping for fair condition pieces to acquire the most sought after styles, and they’re seeking comfort in knowing that if they buy well, they will likely get a great return on their investment,” Levesque said. “We’re witnessing a shift in mindset and shopping habits, and we’re pleased to be at the forefront.”
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