Why Gen Z sees luxury resale as a lucrative side hustle

The RealReal’s 2022 luxury resale report outlines a 50% uptick in items resold on its site purchased by Gen Z customers.
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· 3 min read

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Gen Z lives in the side-hustle economy, often juggling full-time roles with short freelance gigs or even online businesses.

Add luxury resale to the list of side hustles that’s become a lucrative option the younger generation is turning to, as the cost of living continues to skyrocket. Or so says The RealReal’s latest luxury resale report. According to Bloomberg, the online consignment marketplace noticed a 50% uptick on items, like skirts and watches, resold on its site during the first six months of the year. These goods were purchased by Gen Z customers at a lower price with the purpose of selling them at a higher price. Reselling luxury is certainly not a new trend. But it has picked up among the always-online generation mainly as a means to be more financially secure, said Hana Ben-Shabat, CEO and founder at Gen Z Planet, a research advisory firm that works with businesses hoping to target Gen Z customers.

  • “This is a generation that grew up hearing constantly about wealth and income inequality and they have experienced two recessions at a very young age, and, of course, the whole effect of a global pandemic,” she told Retail Brew. “If you take all these effects…they want to secure their financial future, and they will do everything they can to do that…In addition to jobs, going to school, reselling items is just part of that. It’s another kind of side hustle.”
  • She added that since the group has grown up with social media, Gen Z often has a good eye for which brands are desirable and are on top of trends, and that makes this cohort extra efficient at the process of reselling.

According to The RealReal, top labels sold by Gen Z include Prada, Reformation, and Balenciaga. Some of these brands have also built up strategies targeted towards Gen Z.

Balenciaga, for instance, remains one of the most popular luxury streetwear labels and was ranked as the “hottest label of Q1 2022” by Lyst. Streetwear is also an aesthetic that has found much success among the younger demographic. It has also ramped up its investment in the metaverse and developing virtual identities on Roblox.“These brands have intentionally gone after this generation…and by aligning some of their values with them, they have, by default, become so successful with them,” Ben-Shabat said.

Bottom line: Secondhand fashion, which has also been touted for furthering sustainability, is just another way for luxury retailers to maintain consumer interest.But for luxury retailers that want to tap into Gen Z as a new base of customers, getting into the reselling market might be an easy bet to procure lifelong customers.

“Starting relationships with consumers when they’re young is one of the best ways to go into that,” Ben-Shabat said. “That access is so invaluable that I think everyone should consider getting into the resale market and just make it part of their value proposition.”

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