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This French Label Dominates the Luxury Resale Market, The RealReal Says

2020 may be the pits for retail, but Louis Vuitton is coming out on top.

Luxury resale platform The RealReal has released its latest Resale Report, highlighting the luxury sector’s winning brands during a year that has saddled the industry with unprecedented challenges.

“In a bright spot during these difficult times, brands, shoppers and consignors alike are engaging in the circular economy,” Rati Levesque, the company’s chief operating officer and head of merchandising, said. “Gen Z, millennials and men are the new faces of luxury shopping, and the brands in tune with what they want are rising to the top.”

While the Covid crisis has had an impact on the types of products that consumers are buying and selling, for the second year in a row, Louis Vuitton and Gucci remain the most in-demand labels in luxury resale on the platform—with the former leading the pack for the first time.

LV’s iconic Neverfull monogrammed shoulder bag was the most sought-after item on the site, followed by Gucci’s horsebit loafers. Chanel’s classic jumbo double flap bag came in No. 3 on the list, followed by Prada’s Tessuto shoulder bag, Hermes’ Clic H bracelet, Dior’s leather saddle bag, Fendi’s leather-trimmed Zucca baguette, Saint Laurent’s small Sac de Jour, and Balenciaga’s Triple S sneakers. Rounding out the top ten was Burberry’s Nova Check cashmere scarf.

“Gen Z, millennials and men are the new faces of luxury shopping, and the brands in tune with what they want are rising to the top,” Levesque said. “Louis Vuitton edged its way above Gucci by capturing the greatest share of demand among younger demographics, while high demand among men helped keep Gucci well above Chanel.”

While the industry’s established luxury players make up the Top 10, a “new guard” of fashion disruptors is emerging, the retailer’s analysts said. Sustainably minded brands like Collina Strada, Bode and Marine Serre have seen massive year-over-year search increases, as well as black-owned brands like Telfar, Victor Glemaud, Pyer Moss, A-COLD-WALL, Wales Bonner and Martine Rose.

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Luxury brands have also delved feet first into streetwear, which has driven fashion trends in recent seasons—especially with young consumers. Sales of streetwear pieces made by traditional luxury brands have ballooned by 991 percent over the past five years, analysts said. And in 2020, one such brand has risen to the top—even beating out beloved streetwear favorites like Supreme.

Balenciaga’s Speed Trainer sock sneakers took the No. 1 spot on the list of luxury streetwear, followed by Adidas x Yeezy’s 350 V2 Beluga 2.0 sneakers. Supreme’s 2018 Box Logo waist bag took the No. 3 spot, followed by Nike’s MAG Back to the Future sneakers, Off-White’s 2018 graphic print hoodie, Givenchy’s leather high-top sneakers, Off-White x Nike’s 2018 Air VaporMax sneakers, Jordan’s 1 Retro Bred “Banned” sneakers, LV x Supreme’s 2017 Epi Keepall Bandouliere 45, and finally, Adidas’ lightweight track pants.

“As the lines between luxury and streetwear continue to blur, shoppers are embracing the new elevated streetwear look,” said Sean Conway, The RealReal’s sneaker and streetwear expert. “The luxury brands quick to embrace streetwear’s influence are becoming some of the hottest brands in resale.”

Covid has also changed the types of products that shoppers are interested in buying, now that social engagements are largely a thing of the past.

Demand for fashionable face coverings on The RealReal spiked by 30 percent since April, while upscale loungewear surged 194 percent. Interest in sweatshirts and hoodies grew by 78 percent, while tie-dye items skyrocketed 101 percent.

In response to changing consumer needs and shifting ways of shopping, brands have also been rethinking distribution in 2020. With stores mostly shuttered, resale can play a role in helping address excess inventory, giving life to wares from past seasons that missed their window for sale on the standard market. The number of items consigned by brands themselves rose by 46 percent during the pandemic, according to the report.

In addition to comfy, casual basics, shoppers are also embracing products on the other end of the spectrum. Shoppers on The RealReal are also shelling out for quality products that will stand the test of time—and remain in style once the world returns to a state of normalcy. First-time buyers of high-value items increased by 36 percent during the pandemic, analysts said.

“Faced with economic uncertainty, shoppers are gravitating toward the safest bets in luxury: investment pieces,” said Sasha Skoda, head of women’s for The RealReal. “They’re spending on high-value, timeless styles with enduring resale value, knowing they can consign them in the future to recoup most of that investment or wear classic pieces for decades to come.”