Why luxury and resale are the perfect pair
The concept of selling your used clothing or even purchasing someone else’s used clothing is not very romantic. Your mind likely brings you to the inside of a Value Village or a sleezy car dealership in the bad part of town. Regardless of what you imagine, it is not likely to involve Louis Vuitton or any other iconic luxury brand. However, the negative stigma surrounding resale is being questioned by hot new startups like Poshmark and Rebagg. Resale is starting to evoke the same emotions that luxury brands target with their meticulous marketing. Buying and selling secondhand items is now chic, responsible, and fun. Luxury and resale have more in common than you may think, which is one of the reasons why they should start working together.
Product lifetime is a key for both markets. For a product to be considered truly luxury, it must be made of the highest quality materials and engineered to last a lifetime. Brands generally frame the purchase of a luxury good as an investment that will pay dividends. The resale market and the circular economy relies almost exclusively on products that have long lifetimes. The greatest environmental benefit comes from products that be resold multiple times and thereby replace multiple purchases. Luxury fits this role perfectly. As the circular fashion economy continues to gain momentum, the supply of secondhand goods will be driven by consumers of new luxury. That means the only businesses truly at risk of being disrupted are those that manufacture lower quality “disposable” products. Traditional luxury consumers will buy new products because they can resell to subsidize a future purchase and resale shoppers buy pre-owned luxury instead of H&M because it is fashionable and high quality.
Luxury brands and resale platforms target similar people. According to ThredUp, resale shoppers are very digital – 71% do their shopping on a mobile device and they spend an average of 35 minutes on social media every day. McKinsey & Company reported that 75% of luxury consumers have multiple devices and 25% are daily social media users. The major difference between the resale and luxury consumers is their annual income. 55% of resale shoppers make less than $250K compared to only 22% of luxury shoppers. This can be explained in part by the age breakdown. The percentage of millennial shoppers in resale and luxury are 45% and 17%, respectively. Therefore, the lower income consumers from the resale market are likely millennials who haven’t had time to get rich.
Brands and resellers care deeply about the environment. Most resale platforms are champions of the sustainability and trumpet their commitment to the circular economy. Luxury brands have dedicated millions of dollars and entire divisions to reducing their environmental footprint. This is evidenced by the recent push to use more sustainable raw materials like organic cotton and to develop better tools for monitoring impact. The environmental profit and loss methodology developed by Kering and PricewaterhouseCoopers is among the first industrial initiatives that aims to assign a dollar amount to the impact businesses have on their natural surroundings. This shared value reflects another commonality between luxury and resale consumers insofar as they both make environmentally motivated purchase decisions.
Luxury and resale undoubtedly have many differences, particularly when it comes to price point and brand. However, the similarities between warrant a much closer working relationship. There is tremendous potential for both sides to make money while protecting the environment. At Arylla, our mission is to facilitate that kind of symbiosis. In our experience, resellers are very receptive to working with brands directly (deep down they are just fashion lovers trying to make a difference). Luxury brands – are you up to the challenge?
- ThredUp, 2017.
- McKinsey & Company, 2015. http://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/industries/consumer%20packaged%20goods/our%20insights/is%20luxury%20ecommerce%20nearing%20its%20tipping%20point/digital_inside_full_pdf.ashx
- Unity Marketing, 2015. https://unitymarketingonline.com/wp-content/uploads/Personal-Luxury-Report-2015-FINAL-TOC-METHODOLOGY.pdf