Today’s fashion industry has never faced everything like the ongoing coronavirus pandemic before, which has already left lingering scars that won’t heal any time soon. The RealReal, itself weathering early year struggles, has tracked the pandemic’s effects on the secondhand market with its 2020 Resale Report, revealing some surprising takeaways about consumer habits in the first half of 2020 and crowning a new luxury leader.
“This has been a year like no other,” Rati Levesque, COO of The RealReal, correctly asserted in a statement. “As we break down the state of luxury resale, the impacts of the pandemic become clear. The top luxury brands are becoming even more entrenched and Louis Vuitton is now the number one brand for the first time. … Louis Vuitton edged its way above Gucci by capturing the greatest share of demand among younger demographics, while high demand among men helped keep Gucci well above Chanel.”
Those three luxury labels regularly enjoy the greatest success on The RealReal’s resale platform over staples like Dior and Prada, thanks primarily to covetable accessories like Gucci’s loafers, Chanel’s bags and this year’s most popular piece, Louis Vuitton’s Monogram Neverfull MM. Though Louis Vuitton is more popular than Gucci among women, the latter house remains more desirable among men, boosted by its logo-laden bags, belts, sneakers and T-shirts. Further down the list at #9, Balenciaga‘s Triple-S sneaker retained its status as the must-have chunky sneaker despite the indoors living incited by the pandemic.
Though stealth luxury (think The Row, Jil Sander, Maison Margiela) is rising in demand, streetwear remains consistent. YEEZY sneakers are still as popular as Off-White™ and Supreme, with the sector seeing a massive boost in loungewear, sweatpants and Air Jordan sneakers — the former two due to stay-home quarantines and the latter because of the extremely popular Michael Jordan documentary, The Last Dance.
As the number of streetwear purchases on The RealReal continues to swell — enjoying 13 times more consumers than in the half-decade prior — brands across the price spectrum see leaps in desire. Dior and Off-White™, for instance, enjoyed a 81 and 75 percent bump in demand on The RealReal, while Jordan soared 118 percent higher. Off-White™’s Nike collaborations also saw an 88 percent leap, presumably due to this year’s blockbuster Air Jordan 4 “Sail.”
In light of the anti-racism Black Lives Matter movement that accelerated in June, The RealReal users turned their attention to Black-owned brands in a big way. Demand for Telfar Clemens‘ eponymous imprint rocketed by 246 percent — welcome the year’s it-bag — while Victor Glemaud, Pyer Moss, A-COLD-WALL*, Wales Bonner and Martine Rose all received heightened attention.
As shoppers continue to peruse the secondhand market for luxury investments — high-end handbags and minimalist fashion are seeing a major resurgence — retailers and fashion labels — luxury, casual and sportswear alike — have faced serious hardships in the pandemic’s wake, with most of the optimistic quarterly results reported exclusively by digital-first outlets.