Interest in designer collabs grows as Gen Zers view luxury goods as assets

StockX CMO Deena Bahri has watched—and facilitated—the evolution of consumption and trading habits.
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· 3 min read

Legacy brands are eyeing Gen Z as the demographic’s spending power grows, but companies must learn the different ways these buyers think about luxury. Fashion marketplace and resale platform StockX, where 70% of the users are under the age of 35, has been watching their consumption habits evolve since 2016—and facilitating the shifts. StockX started as a place for sneakerheads to buy and sell rare kicks. The company has since expanded its focus to include designer bags, clothes, accessories, and even trading cards.

Designer collaborations are big in the world of luxury resale, as younger shoppers view these limited-edition goods as assets. According to StockX’s new Big Facts report, the company has seen a 200% increase in designer collabs traded on its platform over the last two years.

  • “[Designer collabs are] desirable partially because they’re scarce limited editions. It’s not like next year there'll be a very close version of that product coming to market, which can be the case with other releases. That creates hype,” StockX CMO Deena Bahri told Retail Brew.

The hype is real: Investors are getting younger. See the rise of Robinhood and #stonk memes as further proof. “Being cost conscious and committed to [securing] their financial future as early as possible, combined with the possibilities that a digital world has opened up for them, Gen Z displays a great sense of entrepreneurship and interest in creating multiple income sources,” Hana Ben-Shabat, founder of the research firm Gen Z Planet, told us.

  • “Platforms like StockX offer them this opportunity to buy and sell products. By reselling an item, they can cover part of the purchase cost, or in the case of luxury goods, even make a pro­fit.”
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A recent Harris Poll survey shows that 23% of US adults have bought or plan to buy limited-edition sneakers this year. 37% of them view the shoes as an investment opportunity. In 2020, StockX facilitated over 7.5 million trades, while active buyers surged more than 90% year over year. StockX racked up $1.8 billion gross merchandise value (GMV) in 2020.

“There’s a very strong interest from our consumers around having more offerings in the investment space,” StockX’s Bahri told us. “That may be digital assets, that may be fractional participation in purchasing of assets. That line between goods and assets is blurring, and the whole space is very fertile.”

Investors in Kaws x Uniqlo Tees saw an 82% return on their portfolio over the past two years, per StockX’s data. Meanwhile, searches for collabs on StockX are soaring.

  • “Bape x Coach” searches are up 1,680% YoY.
  • “Crocs” has risen 430% year over year, following the brand’s collaborations with celebs like Justin Bieber, Bad Bunny, and Post Malone.
  • Searches for “Birkenstocks” are up 610% YoY. The company recently collaborated with designers like Jil Sander and Rick Owens.

All eyes on the next gen: Gen Z is leading the trends, not following them. StockX is seeing new growth in the 45+ demographic this year. “It speaks to the influence of Gen Z and young millennials on the older set, whereas historically it was the inverse,” Bahri told us. “The rest of us are following this next gen.”—JG

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