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Online Fashion Shoppers Shift Gears to Pre-Owned and Vintage

Blame it on the sweater weather. From weekends spent unearthing gems at estate sales and flea markets, to the nostalgic feelings stirred up by back-to-school fashion and classic autumnal fare, there’s something about the fall season that brings out the collector in consumers.

But whether it is this romanticized theory, or the consumer consciousness waking up to the sustainable benefits of investing in pre-owned fashion, new data by global search platform Lyst confirms that shoppers are on the hunt for old threads. With fewer places to be seen and fewer people to impress with their trend savvy, shifts in online searches indicate that consumers might be stepping away from their pre-pandemic fast-fashion habits and embracing resale threads instead.

Since the start of September, Lyst has been monitoring the shifting habits of shoppers relating to pre-loved fashion purchases. The term “second-hand” appears to be top of mind for many. Online fashion searches for “second-hand” related keywords on Lyst increased 104 percent since the unofficial start of fall.

The term “vintage fashion” is also buzzing, generating an average or more than 35,000 monthly searches. Meanwhile, Lyst reported that “slow fashion” has been responsible for more than 7 million social impressions.

Though brands like Levi’s are stepping into the resale channel, this notable shift to thrifted goods is centered on accessible luxury goods like handbags and accessories. Searches for vintage bags are at an all-time high, increasing 46 percent year-on-year, Lyst reported.

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Chanel, in particular, is the most coveted with searches for the luxury label climbing 67 percent in September. The most-wanted piece is Chanel’s vintage classic quilted double flap bag, generating more than 2,000 page views over the past month.

While consumers may be working with smaller budgets, the thirst for designer labels remains strong. “Shoppers have been looking actively for brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Prada and Hermes, whilst Fendi’s baguette continues to drive demand, with searches increasing 40 percent month-on-month,” Lyst stated.

Designer names are also driving the demand for pre-owed footwear. Interest in sneakers by brands like Balenciaga, Dior, Yeezy and Off-White remain strong, but more classic styling is gaining traction as well. Perhaps a sign of the “Dark Academia” trend that is filtering through fashion, iconic and collegiate styles like Chanel flats and Gucci loafers grew 55 percent collectively during the month of September.

Searches in jewelry are taking a scholarly turn, too. Lyst reported that “watches” has been the most sought-after sub-category with queries including the terms “vintage” and “second-hand” rising 23 percent since the beginning of September. The most in-demand is Rolex’s vintage Lady-Datejust timepiece. Rolex, in general, has seen a 31 percent spike in month-on-month searches.

Buzz is building for other watches, including Cartier’s Must de Trinity and Omega’s Constellation Champagne watch. Though Chanel is the most-searched “second-hand” jewelry brand, Cartier’s Sweet Trinity necklace is also having a moment, Lyst reported, and has been the most-viewed piece over the past month.