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This Is What Happened in Luxury Resale Last Year

Gen Z and millennials led the way in consignment in 2020, while investment pieces earned consignors more in resale value, according to one of the sector’s biggest names.

The RealReal’s new Luxury Consignment report shows that the two demographic groups represented 35 percent of new consignors last year. The research charts the top 20 trends and shifts impacting luxury resale value based on the consignment platform’s real-time pricing algorithm and data across 16 million items sold in the 12 months that ended in December.

By average resale value, Goyard was No. 1 on the list of top 10 luxury brands, although Patek Philippe rose the most—up three spots from 2019—in the ranking of brands with the greatest resale value. What’s more, demand for high-value bags skyrocketed as the average selling price increased up to 80 percent for in-demand styles. Gucci, a millennial favorite, was No. 1 in the vintage category as resale value rose 12 percent. Rolex continued as the No. 1 watch brand, accounting for five of the top 10 men’s watches with the greatest resale value. The report defined capsule wardrobe essentials as including gender-fluid staples such as puffer coats, waist bags, sneakers and graphic hoodies.

Off-White x Nike sneakers hit peak value of up to 2,158% of original retail pricing as younger consumer drove luxury consignment in 2020.
Covid-19 consumers embraced elevated comfort pieces in luxury loungewear consignment in 2020. Courtesy Photo

Other luxury brands that made the top 10 list after Goyard were Van Cleef & Arpels, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Chanel, Rolex, Patek Philippe, Gucci, Carier and Moncler. Among the top three items to consign now include Off-White x Nike sneakers at up to 2,158 percent of the original retail price, Louis Vuitton Mini Bags at up to 444 percent of retail, and Jordan x Travis Scott sneakers that are up to 354 percent of retail.

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Other popular items include Bottega Veneta bags by Daniel Lee, at up to 108 percent off retail, and Moncler down jackets, up to 90 percent of retail. And in the sneaker category, other top pairs in the limited and supply and collaboration category rising in resale value include Yeezy x adidas as its Boost 350 V2 Core Black Red sneakers rose 93 percent and Louis Vuitton’s LV Trainer at up 30 percent. The designer sneaker category in general saw average resale value well above original retail prices, with Off-White x Nike at 457 percent, while Nike x Sacai was at 365 percent. The average resale value of the Jordan brand was up 260 percent above original retail prices, while the ongoing slate of retro Air Jordan releases helped its resale value rise 48 percent from the first half of the year to the second, the most of any sneaker brand, The RealReal said.

Nike x Sacai VaporWaffle sneaker
Nike x Sacai VaporWaffle Courtesy

“The pandemic has had a lasting impact on the resale market and, through the challenges of the past year, we’re seeing a mindset shift among our 20 million members towards investing in, and living by, what we truly value,” Rati Levesque, chief operating officer at The RealReal, said. “Investment pieces, the new capsule wardrobe essentials, and late ‘90s to early ‘00s vintage are the top trends yielding rising returns to sellers. As we enter a new year, the record numbers of consignors joining the circular economy are a bright spot paving the way to a more sustainable fashion future.”

In men’s fashion, the halo effect of the runway-inspired crossbody bag trend, combined with a year where function superseded form, has led to the rise of utilitarian styles such as messenger bags and backpacks that can be worn instead of carried. Men’s Dior messenger bags saw average year-over-year sales price growth of 76 percent, with Louis Vuitton x Supreme backpacks up 51 percent and Bottega Veneta backpacks up 48 percent.

Off-White x Nike sneakers hit peak value of up to 2,158% of original retail pricing as younger consumer drove luxury consignment in 2020.
The RealReal study found that 35 percent of new consignors in 2020 were Gen Zers and millennials. Courtesy Photo

“It seems counterintuitive that in a year where people were largely stuck at home, demand for high-value-bags skyrocketed. But, aside from being a smart investment, a luxury bag adds polish to any outfit, even the current uniform of laid-back loungewear. Shoppers turned to investment bags to add style to the most basic outings, which drove up value for sellers,” Sasha Skoda, The RealReal’s senior director of merchandising, said.

The RealReal found that the top 30 percent of its consignors earned an average of $9,000 per year, with many using their earnings to shop and others paying it forward by donating their commission to charities. Data also indicated that the average consignor saved the equivalent of 4,333 glasses of water, while consignors in total conserved the equivalent of 712 million glasses of water last year.