“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is a common attitude for those who enjoy consignment or thrift store shopping. While luxury products are definitely not trash, over the last few years, affluent consumers have adopted the second-hand shopping philosophy.
This shift forces large retailers and luxury brands to try and compete with the convenience and diversity that the online consignment world has to offer.
Online luxury consignment retailers such as Portero.com have taken full advantage of this trend and have had major success in selling vintage and pre-owned luxury items.
Buyers are still willing to pay top dollar for luxury products (Portero’s average sale price is $2,200) but affluent consumers are now also concerned with the longevity of the value. “How long will the item stay relevant?” and “what will the resell value be?” are questions the affluent didn’t seem to prioritize as much until now. “There’s been a major shift here over the last four to five years where people really understand value in a different way,” Director of Portero, Alexis Clarbour, told the Business Insider.
Education has been a driving force behind the growth of online and pre-owned purchases.
Anything and everything a consumer needs to know is only one click away when looking to make an expensive purchase. Buyers are much smarter in today’s world and the internet has made it easy to research brands and the values of their products.
“It’s also removing the barrier that traditionally separates customers from shopping pre-owned luxury: fear of fakes. Websites like Portero and Crown & Caliber both offer 100% authenticity guarantees, and they sell products in as good condition as possible while preserving that”, says Dennis Green from the Business Insider.
With proof of verification and authenticity, plus word of mouth and great reviews, selling pre-owned luxury items online has become fairly simple and extremely lucrative. It has also created a type of obsession, encouraging buyers to invest and collect rather than just buy what is new.
Luxury consumers are able to rationalize their pre-owned purchases because they are saving money, investing in a quality item, and often feel proud of their contribution to recycling and renewal. Shopping second-hand is no longer just for those looking for inexpensive items. The name “vintage” alone is beginning to be a term of worth and wealth and many people of affluence use the word proudly.
With a bigger variety to choose from and an almost unattainable one-of-a-kind feel, pre-owned luxury products are beginning to seem even more appealing than the newest Chanel bag that every affluent person already has.
So how does all of this information and change in spending affect other luxury markets?
It seems safe to say that in today’s world of affluent consumers, newer is not always better. If we take a look at the home market, buyers seem less afraid of purchasing luxury homes that were pre-owned and need a little bit of work. If anything, they like the option to customize and create it to be exactly like they want. It becomes an investment, not just a purchase.
Just like homes with good bones, designer bags, or classic cars, there is something to be said for the products that have lasted decades and somehow seem even cooler than when they were originally created. Financially beneficial with a luxury label is truly the “new” way of buying old.