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Who Are Luxury Resale’s Most Valuable Players?

New data from handbag resale platform Rebag—which recently announced its foray into other accessories and leather goods—has revealed the luxury brands and products that retain their value the most even after changing hands.

The company, which hit the then un-crowded secondhand market in 2014, released its first annual Clair report, which analyzes pricing trends in luxury resale, on Thursday.

Not surprisingly, the company said, Hermès, Chanel and Louis Vuitton have maintained their lofty positions in the “upper echelons of brand value” over the past year, with Hermès bags retaining an average of 80 percent of their original value when resold. Chanel and Louis Vuitton handbags each held an average of 63 percent of their retail value.

Coming up on their heels, Dior and Bottega Veneta emerged as rising stars in 2020 versus 2019, moving from 43 percent resale value to 56 percent and 28 percent to 38 percent, respectively.

There’s often a solid reason for shifts like this, Rebag said, and one need only look to things like personnel changes at a luxury label for answers. In 2018, Bottega Veneta brought on Daniel Lee, a veteran of Maison Margiela, Balenciaga and Donna Karan as its creative director. Under his reign, the label’s handbag collections have taken on a luxe-yet-minimalist aesthetic, imbuing the products with a sophisticated appeal once embodied by Celine under the direction of now-departed Phoebe Philo.

Bottega Veneta’s two most popular bags at resale, the woven Jodie hobo and the iconic Pouch, retain an average of 95 and 86 percent of their retail value on Rebag, respectively.

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A product’s original pricing, along with its availability in the primary market, are two other factors that greatly impact its resale value, Rebag said.

The Chanel Classic Flap bag saw a retail price increase of about 11 percent during Q2 in the American and European markets, for example. “It’s truly one of the most recognized, iconic styles in the luxury realm,” Rebag said. “The demand for this bag doesn’t seem to dwindle, which is precisely why when prices increase at the retail level, then resale value is quick to follow.”

The scarcity of an item, like the Louis Vuitton Eva Crossbody, originally released in 2010 and discontinued in 2014, also contributes to demand and consequently, rising resale prices. The bag’s small, sleek silhouette plays into the mini-bag trend that’s proven popular in 2020, and it’s easily transformed from a daytime crossbody with a leather strap to an elegant evening bag with a shorter shoulder chain. The style currently trades on Rebag at 84 percent of its resale price.

While Rebag is known for its handbag selection, the platform recently began trading in luxury accessories as well. These items follow different pricing patterns than totes and satchels, the company noted.

So-called add-on accessories, like key holders, card holders, pochettes and pouches preserve much of their retail value, often ringing in at over 85 percent. Rebag attributes the demand for these items to their functionality.

When it comes to wallets, Christian Dior, Saint Laurent, Celine, and Gucci lead the pack—a notable departure from the “Big Three” of the handbag category: Chanel, Hermès, and Louis Vuitton. According to Rebag, Dior has seen a resurgence in popularity for this category because its latest wallet collections have a distinctly vintage feel—not unlike its most popular handbag styles. Saint Laurent’s wallets, conversely, are clean and classic with an iconic monogram—a look that’s proven popular over the years with luxury shoppers. “It goes to show that brands can spread their value across categories and subcategories far beyond large leather goods,” Rebag noted.

Rebag debuted the Clair system, an acronym for the Comprehensive Luxury Appraisal Index for Resale, in October 2019, giving sellers and shoppers alike the ability to gauge the resale value of a purchase they’re mulling or a big-ticket asset they’re looking to sell.

“Since launching Clair in October 2019, our submissions have almost tripled,” Charles Gorra, CEO and founder of Rebag, said in a statement. “We see that as customers validating our approach to providing radical transparency.”

The resale industry is “constantly changing,” Gorra added, and the Clair Report’s aim is to track those fluctuations and share them with the public, “empowering consumers to make informed decisions and investments.”

Using Clair data, Rebag calculated the average percentage of retained value for resold handbags and accessories by brand, comparing those numbers to retail prices.

Alongside the release of its report, Rebag announced the debut of two new features to augment its Clair software. A real-time price tracker is in the works, the company said, which will allows users to track the historical evolution of resale values. And Rebag shoppers and sellers will now be able to “follow” Clair codes that they want to keep track of, receiving updates on fluctuations in pricing in real time.

A testament to the industry-wide trend toward traceability, Rebag said it will now provide shoppers with in-depth information about the products they’ve purchased. Using a QR code included with each item, shoppers can access a dedicated webpage with details about a product’s past.

The Clair report is available to the public on Rebag’s new content hub, The Vault, which contains resources for shoppers sourced from the company’s luxury handbag and accessories experts and Rebag’s wealth of historical data.