Rencontres du Luxe forum in Paris discusses second-hand luxury market
On October 17, the Rencontres du Luxe forum, a new event organised in Paris by Laura Perrard, the founder of the Journal du Luxe magazine and organiser of the Salon du Luxe show, devoted a day of talks and debate to the ‘secondary’, or second-hand market for luxury goods, and to the risks and opportunities it brings for luxury brands.
Speaking to the Forum's guests and the representatives of secondary market operators Cresus, Vestiaire Collective, Panoply, Arianee and Imparfaite Paris, the President of market research firm IFOP, Stéphane Truchi, underlined first of all the size of the secondary market for luxury clothes, footwear, jewellery and accessories, estimated at nearly €20 billion, “a market that keeps on growing, and is expected to account for 15% of the world’s luxury market in 2022.”
To explain the secondary market's popularity, the IFOP survey emphasised new patterns of consumer behaviour, with “77% of Generation Z consumers (15 to 25-year-olds) preferring to buy sustainable products, and needing to constantly make over their wardrobe, notably for the purposes of self-celebration on social media - and the market for second-hand, more affordable products is the best way to achieve this,” said Truchi. “At the same time, [the survey found] that women would wear a garment only five times before discarding of it, so that product life-cycles are growing longer. In a context where the return of vintage products is a fact, the sharing economy’s popularity is growing and unique items are increasingly sought after, the secondary market is more and more established,” added Truchi.
In terms of luxury brands and groups, the IFOP survey also highlighted how there is a new-found compatibility between luxury goods and the second-hand market. “Among luxury industry professionals, 95% think the second-hand market allows products to have a new lease of life, and are clearly coming to grips with the issue,” said Truchi, adding that “among them, 60% said they don’t want to miss out on this new business, which is also a useful way of fighting counterfeiting. Opposition to the secondary market is definitely getting weaker.”
Supporting the survey’s findings, Maximilien Urso, CEO of Efficio Group and President of second-hand jewellery and watches retailer Cresus, spoke about the rise and forecast growth rate of the secondary market, estimated at “+133% in 2035, compared to a forecast of +85% for the luxury market in the same period,” and about the boom of the second-hand watch market.
Christian Jorge, co-founder of French vintage clothes e-tailer Vestiaire Collective, presented the new ‘Arianee’ project, a blockchain solution creating a connection between products destined to be sold or re-sold and their owners via a digitally recorded certificate, “a sort of trusted third party between brands and end-consumers.” The new solution would enable luxury brands to trace their products within the secondary market and interact with consumers.
Another sign of the secondary market’s success is the rental of high-end products. Asked to speak on this subject, Emmanuelle Brizay, co-founder of luxury rental service Panoply (which currently has a portfolio of 4,000 items from labels like Valentino, Marc Jacobs or Carven) illustrated the advantages of the service offered by Panoply: “an affordable subscription system which allows [users] to rent a certain number of items based on a chosen number of credits, a response to the expensive, ephemeral nature of fashion [products].” Panoply customers can also eventually decide to buy the products they rent out. “It is a concept which major labels don’t seem inclined to reject, since they see rental as a new way of enhancing their products’ visibility and introducing new customers to high-end products,” said Brizay.
For the vintage marketplace segment, Camille Gabbi presented Imparfaite Paris, a successful website “whose goal is to democratise high-quality vintage clothes by featuring vintage looks and styles, offering a genuine alternative to fast fashion.” Finally, another sign of the secondary market’s traction is the increasingly important role fashion designers are giving to upcycling. Independent designer Gaelle Constantini talked about her label, created with sustainability as its ethos: “I source materials from charity shops, laundries and inventory clearance stores, I pick up fabric roll remnants, uniforms and even home linen to create my collections.” A penchant for sustainable fashion in all shapes and sizes.
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