On the heels of releasing its first post-IPO revenue results on Tuesday, The RealReal has published its annual Resale Report, offering up what it calls “a definitive look at the shopping shifts and rising trends in luxury resale.” After reviewing “sales and demand data from millions of shoppers and millions of items sold,” the San Francisco-based luxury resale site shed light on its top 10 most searched-for brands, how “investment bags” are really faring in the market, what the state of luxury watches looks like, and of course, what brands are dominating the streetwear space. Some of the most striking takeaways are as follows …
Super Brands: Among the top 10 most searched-for brands of the year for The RealReal (“TRR”) are Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Hermes, Fendi, Christian Dior, Valentino, Christian Louboutin, and Balenciaga. Not on that list? Celine, which dropped out of its position in the top 10 last year, a drop that appears coincide with the departure of former creative director Phoebe Philo and the September 2018 debut of Hedi Slimane.
Of the top 3 most searched-for brands, TRR notes that as Gucci and Louis Vuitton continue gain momentum, it has come at the expense of Chanel, which is currently embroiled in a legal battle with TRR.
Investment Bags: The usual suspects, namely, Hermès Birkin and Kelly bags, continue to prove the most stable in terms of resale value. TRR asserts that the average resale value for classic bags, such as Hermès’ Kelly Sellier, is 93 percent of the original manufacturer retail price. This is distinct from traditional “it” bags, such as Mansur Gavriel’s bucket bag, which start with markedly high resale prices, only to swiftly drop over the next several years before stabilizing at just below 60%. That is almost the opposite of revival bags, including Dior’s Saddle bag, which in light of a resurgence in popularity go from having a low-but-stable value to increasing quite significantly over a 5 year period to almost 50% percent.
TRR puts the average resale value for all bags – from classics to “it” bags – at a combined 43% or so.
Streetwear: Over the past year, in particular, TRR’s “sneaker and streetwear expert” Sean Conway says that the site has seen “a big uptick” – a 281% surge in searches – over the year prior when it comes to streetwear items.
In terms of searches, Kanye West’s Yeezy took the top spot, followed by Off-White, Nike, Supreme, and adidas. Of the brands will the greatest growth in terms of searches, the New Guards Group-owned Palm Angels saw an increase of 1720% in searches (it is unclear just how significant this number is given that we do not know how many Palm Angels-specific searches there were in 2018).
Other top growth brands in terms of search growth include Off White x Nike, BAPE, Off-White, and Fear or God, while the top searches of sneakers over the past year put Yeezy, Prada, Balenciaga, Nike, and Golden Goose in the top 5.
Watches: Young buyers are driving the charge of luxury watch sales, according to TRR. Sales growth for “high-value” watches, such as Audemar Piguets, Patek Philippes, and various Rolex and Cartier timepieces grew by 58 percent from consumers between ages 18 and 34, and by a 145 percent for those between 35 and 44, who are opting for watches valued at $5,000 and above.
Beyond the watches that set consumers back between $5,000 and $10,000, which grew in sales volume by 48 percent, sales of watches valued at between $30,000 and $50,000 grew 126 percent year over year.
Sustainability: Finally, TRR notes that sustainability played a large role in consumers’ motivations while shopping this year. An interesting 32 percent of TRR’s consumers said that they shop on its site (or in one of its three retail outposts) as a replacement for buying trendy, fast fashion garments and accessories, while a whopping 78 percent said that TRR has changed the way that they shop. This includes being “savvier about how they invest and the impact what they’re buying has on the planet,” says TRR’s director of strategic initiatives, Allison Sommer.