Monday, December 11, 2023

Fashionphile’s 2023 Ultra Luxury Report: Not-So-Quiet Luxury, Leather-Free Bags, and Gen X


Shedding light on consumer preferences, from the quiet to loud luxury dynamics, to an uptick in leather-free bags, and a big push from “the smallest generation,” Gen X, the 2023 Ultra Luxury Resale Report depicts a consumer base oscillating between understated elegance and flamboyant patterns, with notable trends indicating a return to nostalgic styles and a growing appreciation for products with a ‘worn-in’ charm.

The premiere destination for secondhand luxury accessories continues to show strong growth and demand, even amid economic uncertainties. “Seventy-eight percent of our shoppers who make a buying appointment at one of our flagships, leave with a Fashionphile shopping bag in their hands,” founder and president Sarah Davis said in the report.

The report suggests that ultra-luxury can be accessible with prominent brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Hermès retaining their value and also becoming increasingly attainable, with certain styles priced below the $5,000 mark, presenting an attractive entry point for consumers venturing into the upscale market. Chanel experienced an uptick in sales and quote requests following a price hike in March 2023, a trend that mirrors the broader market dynamics where price increases often drive a surge in sales, reflecting the unswayed consumer desire for iconic luxury pieces.

“What do Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X have in common?” the report asks. The answer: Searches for Chanel. “Keeping up with Chanel’s price increases is practically a sport. We know that when luxury brands double down on bag quotas, this triggers a perception of scarcity, which then leads to boosted prices and, in turn, surging demand.”

Chanel bag
Preloved Chanel bag | Courtesy Fashionphile

Fashionphile noted a 34 percent surge in searches for subtle luxury brands like Loewe, Celine, and Bottega Veneta, parallel to a 71 percent increase in interest for vibrant patterns and ‘loud’ luxury fashion items, hinting at a richer and more diverse conversation unfolding in the fashion world.

Fashionphile’s data also highlighted a resurgence in accessories that dominated the early 2000s. This trend, partly attributed to the “Rom-Com Core” aesthetic, has propelled a 30 percent increase in sales of raffia and woven bags, and a significant 77.5 percent rise in the sale of denim accessories. Furthermore, signet rings and drop earrings are making a noteworthy comeback, captivating the attention of fashion enthusiasts who are nostalgic for the new millennium.

Meanwhile, Tiffany & Co. is witnessing a resurgence, with a 150 percent spike in searches over the last half-year, demonstrating the successful rejuvenation of its brand, which has keenly focused on attracting Gen Z and millennial consumers since being acquired by LVMH in early 2021.

Concurrently, the luxury watch sector is adapting to changing market dynamics, with brands adjusting their pricing strategies in response to rising interest rates and inflation, yet maintaining their allure among aficionados willing to invest in sought-after pieces.

Notably, the report also shows a significant uptick in leather-free bags; searches for denim bags increased 77.5 percent compared to last year and sales for raffia and woven bags grew 30 percent YoY.

Fashionphile NYC store
Bags on display at Fashionphile New York | Courtesy

Still trending, the report reveals an increased preference for products with signs of wear. Items categorized as “Very Good,” “Good,” and “Fair” condition constituted 40 percent of this year’s purchases on Fashionphile, an increase of 56 percent since 2020. This surge, reflective of a wider trend toward sustainable shopping choices, emphasizes the growing appeal of items with a ‘lived-in’ charm, offering both exceptional value and a chic aesthetic.

Breaking stereotypes, it seems Gen X and millennials are once again steering the helm of the ultra-luxury market, visiting discounted pages on Fashionphile more frequently than the much talked about Gen Z demographic. This shift demonstrates the considerable influence these groups hold in shaping the future trajectories of luxury retail.

The company also detailed its sustainability commitments following its B Corp certification attained earlier this year. “In 2023, we continued our commitment to sustainability by introducing a range of eco-conscious initiatives within our shipping and packaging services,” reads the report. “This year marked a significant step as we proudly unveiled an environmentally friendly packaging alternative tailored for our valued returning customers placing online orders.”

Fashionphile says the innovative option empowers customers to make a conscious choice, “enabling them to forgo the inclusion of supplementary items such as tissue dots, nail files, and the signature branded Fashionphile dust bag.”

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