RESALE GETS REAL
In Its Annual Resale Report, The RealReal Reveals New Leaders and Generational Trends
Tracking trends in luxury resale, this week San Francisco–headquartered reseller The RealReal released its 2019 Resale Report. Collecting sales and demand data based on the habits of millions of shoppers, the report revealed the top luxury brands in resale, generational trends in high-end secondhand goods and the emerging labels that are rising within the segment.
Gucci and Louis Vuitton were the top two on the list for The RealReal’s top-10 most-searched brands, with a lead of more than 225 percent over Chanel, the brand that occupies the no. 3 spot. While demand for Gucci had increased 78 percent and stands in the no. 1 spot among men and women, it was Balenciaga whose no. 10 place was most impressive as the brand rose in search frequency, securing a place on the list for the first time.
Sasha Skoda, category director for women’s at The RealReal, feels that these top-10 trends can be attributed to the brands bringing on board visionaries who helped the heritage labels rebrand their creative directions.
“Gucci, Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton have been able to rebrand themselves, bringing on new creative directors. Balenciaga brought in Demna Gvasalia, Louis Vuitton brought in Virgil Abloh in men’s, and Gucci brought in Alessandro Michele,” she said “They all reimagined the brands in ways that speak to the Millennial and Gen Z customer base in a way they previously have not.”
In addition to incorporating these fresh perspectives on luxury to reach a new generation of consumers, the brands have engaged in collaborations and product releases that speak to these customers. Skoda specifically cited Louis Vuitton’s partnerships with Supreme, Takashi Murakami and its LV Archlight sneaker; Gucci’s collaboration with the legendary Dapper Dan and its Ghost line; and Balenciaga’s Triple S sneaker as prime examples of how these brands have been able to secure an important place in the minds of shoppers.
Sustainability has been a large driver of consumer attraction to resale, according to the report. Responses by 82 percent of customers cited sustainability as a key driver to shop the resale site, while 56 percent of consignors mentioned eco responsibility as an important factor when consigning goods.
While 32 percent of customers cited replacing fast fashion with resold luxury goods as the reason they shop The RealReal, Skoda believes that the declining desire for adhering to seasonal trends also drives customers to shop the resale market. The report identifies year-over-year growth within macro trends, such as an increase of 544 percent in mini bags, 378 percent for hair clips, 364 percent in tie-dye goods, 358 percent in neon garments, 162 percent for blazers, 112 percent for cardigans, 111 percent in sheer pieces and 107 percent in PVC-based items.
By choosing quality vintage pieces from different eras, consumers are creating their own unique, more personalized styles. There has also been a rise in emerging luxury brands, with Staud and Khaite securing the top two places for “Most-Searched Emerging Women’s Brands,” standing at 850 percent and 717 percent growth, respectively.
“We hit a saturation point where every influencer was wearing the same thing on the same day. We’re getting to a place where people want a sense of personal style again. It allows a wider breadth of brands to exist. There is a customer for everything,” said Skoda. “The rise of shopping resale lends itself to that. You’re no longer beholden to shop trends that are on a particular season’s runway.”
Often bypassed in favor of Generation Z and Baby Boomers, Generation X also made an impact on the resale market, according to the report.
“Now that streetwear has become so readily available, Gen X is looking to step up their game by mixing street style with luxury pieces,” said Sean Conway, senior sneaker and streetwear expert at The RealReal. “Gen Xers grew up during the birth of hip hop, street art, graffiti and skate culture. It’s that sense of nostalgia that plays a major role in recent streetwear demand growth.”
A 281 percent rise in the demand for streetwear was attributed to Gen X, Millennials and women. As Generation X rises through the professional ranks, thereby securing greater buying power, they are bringing a more casual yet polished style to the corporate setting.
“You’re having this customer who is in the office and they want to be relevant and want to connect with the younger generation that is becoming important,” explained Skoda. “There is a shift into more-casual outfitting.”
This shift is also important as more women shop men’s streetwear. As they seek more gender-neutral goods with which they can make a statement, female consumers clocked a 95 percent year-over-year increase in purchasing men’s streetwear pieces. Among Millennials, streetwear demand searches increased year over year by 237 percent, according to The RealReal.
“We’re going to start to see new things happening,” said Skoda. “[Particularly] with these brands that have been able to tap into the Gen Z and Millennial base with these archival products and reimagining logos.”
Images courtesy of The RealReal.