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Luxury as a currency: how the luxury resale market has evolved as an investment vehicle

By Rachel Douglass


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Ebay's Luxury Exchange NYC. Image: Ebay

Despite currently bleak economic prospects, the resale market is only on the rise, with a slew of recent reports finding that consumers are showing a tendency towards secondhand and pre-loved purchases in light of rising costs and tightened budgets.

A similar attitude was adopted by that of The Business of Fashion (BoF), which partnered with resale marketplace Ebay, on a new analytical report ‘The Rise of Resale: Luxury as Currency’.

Through the report’s data, the duo found that shoppers were increasingly viewing luxury accessories as potential investments, with 17 percent of the report’s respondents stating that they had purchased items, like high-end handbags and watches, with the intention of reselling them.

Luxury products as an asset class

This tendency to no longer view luxury items as one-off discretionary purchases could be what is driving resale activity, the report stated, with over half of luxury shoppers in the US said to be monitoring the value of their high end purchases, 30 percent of which were found to be doing so as often as once a year.

Additionally, over half of US luxury shoppers believe some of their luxury accessories could appreciate in value. Around 60 percent of those respondents that are active on resale sites said they had resold these products for more than they purchased them for.

The report’s findings also concluded that shoppers could be viewing luxury items as a “safer store of value than other investments like stocks”, with only six percent worried their accessories could decrease in value.

In a press release for the report, Rahul Malik, managing director of North America at BoF, said: “The luxury resale market has had a transformative trajectory within the larger fashion industry.

“As second-hand shopping for luxury items becomes increasingly attractive to shoppers, it is no surprise that businesses from high street brands to luxury fashion houses have been exploring how they can be a part of this space — especially given its role in enabling circularity.”

Ebay's Luxury Exchange NYC. Image: Ebay

Ebay opens luxury exchange store in NYC

To put the report into practice, Ebay has opened a New York-based ‘Luxury Exchange’, which allows shoppers to exchange jewellery, handbags and watches from various luxury brands.

On entry, customers can have their luxury items appraised and assigned a value with which they can shop the store’s inventory and make an exchange on an item within their ‘currency’.

In a release, Tirath Kamdar, GM of luxury at Ebay, “It’s never been easier for luxury enthusiasts to refine their collections in a trust environment, and we wanted to create an IRL experience that reflects what’s happening on Ebay every day.

“The Luxury Exchange gives shoppers an opportunity to appraise and sell their valuable goods, and add something new to their personal collections – just in time for the holiday season.”

Both the store and the resale report come on the back of Ebay’s expansion of its Authenticity Guarantee, which now also covers jewellery.

Initially launched in 2020, the programme aims to encourage shoppers to buy and sell their collections, with authenticity proven to be the defining factor in this specific decision-making process, as found by BoF and Ebay.

According to the duo’s report, 25 percent of luxury shoppers stated they may have inadvertently purchased a counterfeit luxury item in the past, with it further suggesting that possessing authentication information could make an estimated one-third of shoppers more likely to resell their luxury goods online.

Business of Fashion