UK Markets closed
  • FTSE 100

    5,860.28
    +74.63 (+1.29%)
     
  • FTSE 250

    18,109.57
    +215.15 (+1.20%)
     
  • AIM

    980.45
    +11.44 (+1.18%)
     
  • GBP/EUR

    1.0988
    -0.0074 (-0.67%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.3038
    -0.0042 (-0.3207%)
     
  • BTC-GBP

    10,041.68
    -2.81 (-0.03%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    260.05
    -1.40 (-0.54%)
     
  • S&P 500

    3,465.39
    +11.90 (+0.34%)
     
  • DOW

    28,335.57
    -28.09 (-0.10%)
     
  • CRUDE OIL

    39.78
    -0.86 (-2.12%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    1,903.40
    -1.20 (-0.06%)
     
  • NIKKEI 225

    23,516.59
    +42.32 (+0.18%)
     
  • HANG SENG

    24,918.78
    +132.65 (+0.54%)
     
  • DAX

    12,645.75
    +102.69 (+0.82%)
     
  • CAC 40

    4,909.64
    +58.26 (+1.20%)
     

A millennials love affair: China's second-hand luxury goods market booms

·3-min read
Staff member collects an order from the shelves at the warehouse of the second-hand luxury goods retail platform Plum in Beijing

A millennials love affair: China's second-hand luxury goods market booms

Staff member collects an order from the shelves at the warehouse of the second-hand luxury goods retail platform Plum in Beijing

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's love for luxury is spilling over into the once shunned second-hand goods sector, with online stores surfing a wave of pent-up demand from shoppers, led by millennials, who have been forced into belt-tightening by the coronavirus pandemic.

The rapid proliferation over recent years of second-hand luxury sales online platforms have helped fuel an expansion of the market, similar to those of U.S. online luxury reseller The RealReal Inc <REAL.O> or Europe's Vestiaire Collective.

"Our income recorded a surge this year during the pandemic as offline stores are mostly closed," said Xu Wei, founder of Plum, a second-hand luxury products company in Beijing which is especially popular with millennial women from China's lower tier cities.

Chinese consumers have traditionally shunned second-hand goods, though that has undergone a shift over the past decade or so led by younger, more environmentally conscious consumers looking for affordable high-end goods.

"Compared to completely new products, second-hand products are more economical for them," Xu said. Sales growth at Plum have averaged over 25% month-on-month in the first half.

The actual size of the Chinese second-hand luxury goods market is small, luring platforms such as Plum, Ponhu and Feiyu which are betting on strong growth over coming years.

A joint report by China's University of International Business and Economics and Isheyipai, a platform for second-hand luxury deals, estimated that sales of second-hand luxury products in China accounts for just 5% of the overall luxury market, compared with 28% in Japan and 31% in the United States.

Consultancy Bain estimates that Chinese consumers will account for nearly 50% of the global luxury market — valued around $374-386 billion — by 2025.

Millennials, those in their 20s and 30s, are a big market for the second-hand goods retailers. The joint university-Isheyipai report estimates that 52% of the second-hand luxury goods consumers in China are below 30 years old, a segment bigger than the entire U.S. population.

On Plum's platform, a Louis Vuitton Speedy 25 Monogram rated at 85% new was offering at 4,548 yuan ($676.44), compared with $1,560 on the brand's homepage. A 90% new black Gucci GG Marmont small shoulder bag was sold at 4,890 yuan ($727.31) versus the official price at $2,250.

Sun Shaqi, a livestreamer who has 6.5 million followers on Douyin, the Chinese version of popular short video app TikTok, is one of many personalities promoting the idea of buying second-hand.

Livestreaming has recently become a widely-used marketing medium in China.

"With the money for one bag, here you can buy 3 to 4 (second-hand), isn't it a good deal?" she asked in a recent livestream while holding up a red patent leather Louis Vuitton bag.

"Who will know it is a second-hand bag when you carry it?"

($1 = 6.7234 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Fang Nanlin, Sophie Yu and Brenda Goh; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)