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Shoes, Maximalism and Vintage Drive Luxury Resale Market

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In an era when Instagram dictates how often consumers can wear an item before it’s obsolete, online consignment shops continue to gain in popularity.

Overall, the resale market—both brick-and-mortar and online—is expected to grow from $18 billion in 2016 to $33 billion in 2021 with approximately 49 percent of those sales devoted to apparel, shoes and accessories. Though traditional consignment shops like 2nd Time Around are shuttering, online resale is garnering customers with conveniences like in home pick-up and inspectors who sift through, price and photograph goods for sellers.

With everything from trendy denim to pricey baubles, luxury resale site The RealReal touts 6 million members and 5 million items sold. In its midyear look at the market, the platform highlights the biggest movers, the buzziest newcomers and how consignment is directly impacting regular retail.

Rather than stealing from other markets, as consignment continues to heat up, it’s also funneling dollars elsewhere. The report shows that 85 percent of consignors use their earnings to shop in the primary market. Sites like The RealReal are also a research tool with 70 percent of consumers appraising similar items on the platform before making buying decisions.

In terms of what’s selling, the more is more aesthetic of recent Gucci collections has catapulted it to the fourth most covetable brand on the site. The brand is outselling cool-girl Celine and its minimalist aesthetic, driving a general demand for graphics and mixed prints, and paving the way for a Balenciaga takeover. Meanwhile shoppers are flocking to Self-Portrait, Vetements and Zimmerman. Other winners include Chloé and Saint Laurent while former faves like Burberry and Louboutin have cooled somewhat. Top labels run the gamut from the runway to streetwear with Oscar de la Renta designers’ other collection Monse and the perennially coveted Supreme.

High-end footwear is the new go-to, outpacing comparable handbag sales by 11 percent. In shoes in general, flats and sneaker sales are growing 30 percent faster than the category overall, indicating consumers’ obsession with casualwear isn’t flagging. Shoppers are also looking to vintage as a way to make a statement, boosting one-of-a-kind finds by 60 percent.

Thanks to the authentication services on online consignment sites, consumers are showing their willingness to go all in on big purchases too—even on items like engagement rings, which have seen sales rise by 150 percent on The RealReal in the last year. To tap into this spendy customer, The RealReal competitor ThredUp is now going head to head with Luxe, its new luxury platform.

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