Antique & Estate Jewelry / Designers / Webinars

The RealReal 2021 Annual Resale Report Highlights Unbranded Jewelry


On Thursday, The RealReal released its 2021 Luxury Resale Report, which highlights the current state of luxury resale and how the pandemic affected what people bought and sold in the past year. The data is based on the resale site’s 23 million members and total of 19 million items sold.

First off, the report notes that a record number of people bought and sold vintage clothing and jewelry over the past year with conscious consumption and sustainability driving new consignors and buyers.

“The luxury resale movement is experiencing record growth, with 6 million new members joining TRR in the past year year,” said Rati Sahi Levesque, president of The RealReal. “Evolving COVID restrictions and reopenings are significantly impacting shopping behaviors. Savvy shoppers are latching onto luxury investments, with the most significant growth among millennials and Gen Z. Shoppers are drawing inspiration from the past… driving demand for streetwear’s return to its preppy roots and vintage Japanese menswear. And of all age groups, our data suggests Gen Z will be our most conscious shoppers yet.”

The report notes that 29% of buyers made their first pre-owned luxury purchase in the past year, while 45% of new consignors in the first quarter of this year had never consigned before. Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious, with 43% of buyers saying that sustainability is a deciding factor for shopping at The RealReal, and 40% turning to luxury resale as a replacement for fast fashion.

As for fine jewelry, Chanel reigned supreme as the most sought-after brand of the year, however unbranded jewelry—pieces that were one-of-a-kind or have no logo—was the second most-purchased category, marking one of the most surprising emerging categories in the report. Demand for jewelry by Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Hermès, in that order, rounded out the rest of the top most-purchased brands.

cocktail rings
Cocktail rings were the number-one jewelry item purchased at The RealReal within the last year.

Within fine jewelry, cocktail rings, link bracelets, pendant necklaces, and drop earrings, in that order, were most often purchased. Regionally, San Francisco had the highest purchasers of jewelry with Cartier, Tiffany & Co., and Van Cleef & Arpels rounding out the city’s most-loved brands. Orange County, Calif., was the number-one region in the purchase of high-value watches with Rolex, Cartier, and Van Cleef & Arpels marking the top three brands.

In watches, collectors are selling their starter timepieces and trading up. Overall, watch collectors are spending $1,643 more per watch year-over-year. Buyers are going for Cartier, Franck Muller, and Rolex; and sellers are unloading Gucci, Michele, and Tiffany & Co. timepieces.

High value watches
A selection of high-value watches at The RealReal

There were other highlights of the report too: In fashion, Gucci was the most bought and sold brand of the year, with purchases up 62% for the year and consignments up 61%. Millennials are the most dominant demographic in luxury resale, but Gen X is both the number-one buyer and consignor of Gucci, the report states. Demand for Telfar soared 590%, making it the emerging brand of the year. There was also renewed interest in Japanese brands such as Supreme x Yohji Yamamoto.

Top: Second only to Chanel, demand for unbranded jewelry soared in the last year (all photos courtesy of The Real Real).

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Kristin Young

By: Kristin Young

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