Those are some of the pronouncements found in The RealReal’s “State of Luxury Resale” Mid-Year 2017 report, which provides a snapshot of the company’s business, touches on shifts in brand popularity on the site and offers insights into the increasingly crowded online high-end consignment space.
Julie Wainwright, founder and chief executive officer of The RealReal, said Gucci is in fourth place on the list of top 20 best-selling brands in the resale market for the second year in a row. Wainwright said the brand’s creative director Alessandro Michele is spreading the gospel of maximalism and creating demand throughout the industry.
“Gucci’s sell-through on the site is 10 percent stronger than Céline’s and searches for graphic and mixed prints are up more than 37 percent year-over-year,” Wainwright said, adding that the print-centric Missoni’s sales rose by double-digits while searches increased 30 percent.
Lanvin during this period dropped out of the top 20, moving to number 26, from 18. Sales of Chloé continue to rise, to number 12 on The RealReal’s list of top 20 best-selling brands, while Burberry’s sales continue to fall, with the brand now at 15. Saint Laurent shoes jumped from 23rd place to 14th.
A group of women’s brands logged triple-digit growth in the period. Several brands posting outsized gains are led by young designers with a strong point of view. For example, Self-Portrait’s sales rose 636 percent; Vetements, 548 percent; Zimmerman, 320 percent; J.W. Anderson, 143 percent, and Rosie Assoulin, 137 percent.
The RealReal found strong interest from shoppers in emerging designers. “Search skyrocketed year-over-year for those gaining traction in the industry,” Wainwright said, citing among the buzziest new brands Supreme, with a 1,500 percent increase in sales; Off-White, 730 percent; Vita Kin, 240 percent; Jacquemus, 200 percent, and Monse, 22 percent, following an award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America and its designers Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia being named creative directors of Oscar de la Renta.
Trends cited by the report include the popularity of comfortable shoes. In the ath-leisure age, flats and sneakers advanced 30 percent faster than heels. Comfort may be the reason for the popularity of backpacks, with searches ahead 70 percent. The 40 percent growth of backpacks is the largest of any handbag category.
Synthetics are having a moment, from the Balenciaga runway to throwback pieces. Prada’s Tessuto nylon backpack, which represents two trends in one, saw demand spike 46 percent.
“In a market saturated with trends, the number of shoppers seeking out one-of-a-kind vintage items has gone up 60 percent,” the report said.
Wainwright attributed the 36 percent increase in demand for Balenciaga to the more-is-more ethos of Gucci. A new trend observed is the rise of the investment shoe, with footwear priced $500 or more selling 11 percent faster than handbags with price tags of $500 or higher. Gucci’s Princetown loafer, for example, has strong resale value, retaining 80 percent of its retail price.
Sales of engagement rings rose 150 percent year-over-year, growing 1.4-times faster than fine-jewelry sales overall. The highest number of clicks on the site belong to engagement rings, a highly emotional and personal purchase. And 33 percent of engagement rings are purchased from mobile phones, a rate that’s 50 percent higher than average consumer purchases.
“Much has been made of trying to figure out Millennial shoppers, but Gen Z is fast on their heels as an important and fast-growing demographic,” said the report. Gen Z — those born from the mid-Nineties to the mid-Aughts — is The RealReal’s fastest-growing cohort, outpacing Millennials by 35 percent. While Millennials reportedly prefer experiences to acquisitions, members of Gen Z have no such scruples. Their top three brands are Chanel, Hermès and Louis Vuitton. Not only is Gen Z a cohort of shoppers, it’s early consignors.
The RealReal, which has raised $173 million in funding, recently signed a lease for its first store in New York’s SoHo.
Wainwright noted that 85 percent of the site’s consignors use their commission payments to shop in the primary market, where 70 percent of them research resale values on The RealReal to inform their purchasing decisions.