Doom or bloom? Luxury Packaging Expert, Robert Lockyer from Delta Global has his say on the future of luxury resale in China

26 August 2022

The Chinese luxury resale market is set to be worth an impressive $33 billion by 2025 – a significant amount of growth expected in just three years, especially when compared to its current figure of $8 billion – but will it stay this way?

Resale has become a global phenomenon, and while it is perhaps most popular in the UK and in the US, it is also rising in popularity in China, too.

In this piece, Robert Lockyer, Founder and Chief Client Officer of international luxury packaging provider Delta Global, discusses the expected boom for luxury resale in China throughout the remainder of 2022 and beyond.

Driven predominantly by Generation Z and the younger generation, resale is an ever-growing trend. In fact, it is now fair to consider it as much more than just a trend, as to many, it is the only way they choose to shop and for some, a way of life.

Prioritising sustainability without having to compromise on luxury, and particularly for fashion, resale is the ideal way for consumers to continue buying quality items without contributing negatively to the environment.

Customers are keen to invest in the longevity of products and the majority are no longer interested in fast fashion fads and trends, which is contributing to the success and rise of second-hand luxury fashion.

There have been a number of factors that have contributed to such growth, and continue to do so. One of which, being the coronavirus pandemic causing a dramatic shift in the way consumers choose to shop.

Historically, and until rather recently, second-hand shopping was almost seen as taboo in China (and elsewhere) due to the associated societal stigma of wearing pre-loved clothes.

However, as the pandemic ramped up, people were left with many struggles, including that of financial – which is one of the reasons the societal stigma of luxury resale and second-hand shopping became a thing of the past.

Now, as we are the other side of the pandemic, we are continuing to the see a huge boom of luxury resale on a global scale, and I expect to see China at the forefront of it in the not-too-distant future.

Consumers in China spent approximately $73.6 billion on luxury goods in 2021, almost double that of pre-pandemic life, and putting covid to one side, China continues to see shocking price increases across various sectors and industries, with fashion being no exception.

However, with Chinese consumers still keen to demonstrate their passion for luxury, high-end products, and rather than them having to completely reconsider such purchases, luxury resale is the perfect alternative.

And, not only are consumers ramping up their interest and desire for pre-loved luxury fashion, investors and businesses are doing the same, too with the likes of Vestiaire Collective expands it services into the market.

Just last year, China was responsible for more than a fifth of global consumer spending on luxury goods – a statistic far too large to ignore, and one that suggests that the world's most populous country will be the biggest luxury market by 2025.

So, what does the future hold for luxury resale in China?

In my personal and professional opinion, there are no limits and I expect to see China thrive within the realms of luxury resale in the coming years.

Second-hand shopping and pre-loved luxury items are showing no signs of slowing down with consumers – in fact, it's quite the opposite and statistics are showing that this is continuing to ramp up.

As well as the most popular resale platforms The RealReal, Vestiaire Collective and REBAG, HULA and Retykle are also contributing to the growth of luxury resale in Asia.

Acting as a luxury authenticator, this will also support ongoing efforts of the wider industry to reduce the number of inauthentic, counterfeit goods that are often sold on without being checked beforehand.

Not only that, but platforms such as those mentioned above, are the ideal way for consumers to continue shopping for luxury goods without compromising on sustainability, particularly when paired with eco-friendly packaging solutions.

This is just the beginning for luxury resale in China and Asia, and I for one, am incredibly excited and eager to see the success of such come to further fruition.