PARIS — Louis Vuitton and Hermès have taken the top spots in the secondhand personal luxury market.
According to a study conducted by Exane BNP Paribas and the secondhand online retailer Instant Luxe, Louis Vuitton has extended its volume lead in both handbags and small leather goods in the first half of 2015, while Hermès heads the list in terms of average price increases.
By volume, Chanel and Hermès, the second and third strongest sellers, together currently make up 40 percent of Louis Vuitton’s worth in handbag sales. The first Italian players in the ranking, Gucci and Prada, combined are worth only 11 percent of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s top brand.
In the small leather goods category, Louis Vuitton dominates with a five-time advantage over Hermès.
Hermès has seen the average price of its handbags increase 23.6 percent in the first half of 2015 versus the same year-ago period, followed by Chanel and Céline, “possibly a consequence of the Kelly’s recent revival, and continued strong demand from Chinese consumers,” the researchers write.
The price of Hermès’ small leather goods, meanwhile, jumped 55.4 percent.
Hermès is also the leader in the fashion watches department, selling three times more than Chanel, which came in second, while Cartier reigns in the specialist watch space — at the expense of Rolex — as well as in the specialist jewelry space, the study says.
In fashion jewelry, Hermès continues to place second, though the French luxury brand has almost closed the gap with Chanel in terms of volume, with both companies also trading at approximately the same average price level.
Exane BNP Paribas noted that the faster momentum in the secondhand market is good news short-term. “This suggests higher brand desirability and top-of-mind position. Longer-term, this is also a challenge: higher top-of-mind could come at the expense of perceived exclusivity. Yet, it is obviously better to be relevant to consumers and having to manage perceived exclusivity over time, than to be irrelevant in the first place,” the researchers observed.
At present, 80 percent of the secondhand market is still in the hands of physical retailers, they noted, though online players such as Instant Luxe are growing fast, currently accounting for one-fifth of the market.
As reported, last month Eurazeo took a minority stake in Vestiaire Collective, one of Europe’s largest sellers of pre-owned fashion and accessories, in an attempt to cash in on the growing sector.
The site, which serves as a first gateway into luxury for many buyers, posted 85 percent growth in sales volume in the first half of 2015, the private equity fund said.