The Rising Popularity of Pre-Owned Designer Bags

According to ThredUp’s 2021 Resale Report, the second-hand market will grow to double its current size in the next few years and is especially poised to reach USD 77 billion by the year 2025. Resale, the particular second-hand category that involves curated selections, is growing 11 times faster than other categories and is the primary driver of the second-hand market boom.

So, if you’re wondering if buying and owning pre owned designer bags is “done,” wonder no more. Yes, it is “done.” Buying pre-owned Chloe handbags, pre-owned Birkins, pre-owned Neverfulls, and pre-owned pretty much anything are becoming more and more popular.

A Trifecta of Whys

ThredUp projects that the second-hand market’s share-of-closet will double in the next 10 years. It will have twice the share of fast fashion, which will grow by a negligible 1% in the same period.

The resale market’s growth has three main drivers: the clamor for sustainability, the circular economy perspective, and the robust resale ecosystem.

The Consumers’ Clamor for Sustainability

Particularly for the younger segments of the buying public, sustainability is a sufficient reason to encourage second-hand sales.

The fashion industry has a considerable negative impact on the environment. In fact, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the fashion industry accounts for 10% of the world’s CO2 emissions. It is also a big consumer of water, with yearly water usage at around 1.5 trillion liters.

The fashion industry also produces a whopping 92 tonnes of waste every year, including microplastics and chemical waste products.

If that is not enough to make you reconsider buying new, there is also the fact that buying used is much better for the environment due to used items’ significantly lower footprint. A pre-owned clothing item, for instance, saves an estimated 77.3 gallons of water, 34 kWh of energy, and 17.4 lbs of CO2 emissions.

Indeed, for fashion to be sustainable, it must openly embrace the resale market. It’s a great thing that buyers increasingly understand the impact of their buying decisions. Buyers are now consciously and intentionally embracing the second-hand and resale trend.

And none is more appropriate for the resale market than designer bags and other designer and luxury goods. Luxury goods are made with premium materials, typically hand-made, and designed to last decades. They make the best resale items because of their exceptionally high quality and longevity.

The Circular Business Model


A business that subscribes to the circular economy model deliberately designs its supply chains in a way that helps it recover or reuse the resources used in creating its products.

By recapturing resources from their products, usually at the end of these products’ lifetime, companies can become more sustainable. They can reduce the need for expensive resources, reduce the amount of waste they produce, and generally reduce their environmental footprint. It is also economical when a business can use its resources more efficiently.

Product Life Extension


One of the circular business model’s chief strategies is Product Life Extension, and it is particularly appropriate for designer bags manufacturers.

This includes creating exceptionally high-quality handbags that will last their owners a long time, which means they won’t contribute to the fashion industry’s growing pile of landfill waste. This also involves offering repairs to ensure that customers won’t have to throw away their bags because of a damaged button, clasp, or strap.

Ensuring that products last a long time also maximizes their utility, offering better returns on the requisite environmental footprint of production.

Product Ownership Retention

Luxury goods manufacturers can also apply this circular business model strategy. In their case, however, they could create a unique line they could lease or rent out, either in-house or through a third-party platform.

Design for Recycling

Luxury goods manufacturers can buy old products from consumers to secure resources to reuse. Designer handbag manufacturers, for instance, can collect metal hardware and leather from old products.

Designer bags and other luxury goods manufacturers can also modify this circular business model strategy. Instead of designing for recycling, they can develop their products for reselling. They can include easy-to-authenticate devices to support and protect the secondary market for their products.

The Challenge for Luxury Goods Manufacturers

There are specific luxury goods sectors that don’t lend themselves well to the circular business model. For instance, luxury makeup manufacturers and brands that create other such consumable products cannot recycle most of their products, although they may reuse their product packaging.

Even so, the circular business model is generally an excellent fit for the luxury goods market. Unfortunately, well-known luxury brands are rather slow to actively take part in the resale market trend. A lot of the brands are apprehensive about the secondary market eating into their primary market’s profits.

What they might not realize is that owning their secondary market will bring more good than harm. In fact, according to “The Future of Circular Fashion” by Accenture Strategy and Fashion for Good, luxury goods can realize a 39% operating margin from resale, better than their current 22% margin from the linear model.

However, it’s good that consumers and resale platforms are picking up the slack for the luxury brands by actively dealing in these brands’ resale or secondary markets.

And this leads the discussion to the last point.

Retail Embracing Resale


The availability of resale platforms is another significant development that is helping drive the rise of the resale trend. Their mere existence encourages and empowers those who wish to buy used designer bags for sustainability and a host of other reasons.

The curation that these resale platforms offer is particularly crucial to the vitality of the resale market. Trust is important in the resale of designer bags and luxury goods.

When a resale platform painstakingly selects the products it includes in its inventory and meticulously confirms their authenticity, it can build its customers’ trust in the resale platform. It also reinforces the customers’ confidence in the resale process in general.

The Designer Bags Resale Market: Prospects


The future is bright for the designer bags resale market. The consumers are all for designer bags resale, mainly for reasons of sustainability. And a great many resale platforms are offering stellar curation services that are driving the growth of the resale market.

The circular economy model says reselling and the secondary market make business sense for luxury brands. Hopefully, more and more luxury brands will start actively participating in it in the years to come.

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