Resale and The Circular Nature of Luxury Goods Ownership
As the stigma surrounding the resale of luxury goods fades, a market has popped up catering specifically to resold goods. It has now become the norm for people to buy, sell, and buy again creating, for lack of a better term, a cycle of ownership.
In recent years, the market for resold luxury goods has exploded. Fuelled by the growth of the internet and increased levels of interpersonal connectivity, a multitude of platforms have risen to capitalise on this trend. Some of them are more generic, with listings of many different categories. Others focus on a specific type of product, for example Chrono24, which caters to watch aficionados. It is therefore becoming increasingly simple to resell luxury goods, which many are now starting to do for several reasons. The resulting effect is that, while luxury goods used to be more often bought and held onto, ownership of such products has become more circular in nature.
Before we proceed further, we should clarify that in this article, the terms resold and second-hand are going to be used interchangeably. Also, we are going to use these terms to refer to any items that have been owned by someone before being sold off, regardless of the level of use they have experienced, i.e. pre-loved or mint condition.
Like we said, more people are taking advantage of the internet and its benefit of increased interpersonal connection to sell their pre-owned luxury goods. The question is why? This ultimately boils down to two main reasons: profit and sustainability.
Regarding the first of these reasons, it should come as no surprise that selling your old luxury goods is an extremely economically viable way to make a quick buck. By their very nature, luxury goods have always commanded high levels of demand. Even as they age and newer models appear on the market, the value of these goods does not decrease terribly, with some products even increasing in value over time. This is particularly true of the vintage offerings from luxury watch manufactures, making them fantastic investments. For example, vintage Omega Speedmasters, especially the Professional Moon Watches from the 1950s to early 1960s, are extremely in-demand and can command prices between US$10,000 to US$20,000.
Additionally, when you consider that some items are so exclusive that being able to get a hold of them requires that one develop a relationship with the retailer, their values skyrocket. This is an aspect of the world of luxury goods that is not as well-known as most brands are typically tight-lipped about this required relationship. That said, there are ways to get your hands on such exclusive goods, and many do succeed in attaining them before putting them on the second-hand market where they go for exorbitant prices, particularly in mint condition. An example of this shadowy world is the somewhat open secret that obtaining a Hermès Birkin requires some kind of relationship with a boutique.
The second reason, sustainability, is gaining popularity as people become evermore environmentally conscious. Reselling our old luxury items gives them a new lease of life and allows us the chance to reinvent our wardrobes. But one might wonder, with new offerings already on the market, why would anybody still be interested in the spoils of last season? This ties in to the timeless designs, excellent craftsmanship, and high quality of manufacture of luxury goods. Yes, they might not be the most up-to-date products on the market, but they ooze style and are durable enough to stand the test of time.
As we mentioned, luxury goods represent the pinnacle of style and quality. These factors mean that they retain value extremely well, and if taken care of, are durable enough to be resold and reused, opening the next chapter in their lives. This therefore encourages the trend we see today, where people actively buy luxury items, and then sell them for a profit, allowing them to dive back in and purchase the newest offerings on the market before repeating the cycle again. Such is the nature of luxury ownership in today’s world.