E-commerce, millennials boost pre-owned luxury market


Malaysia is well-positioned to be the regional hub for the secondhand luxury market as the emergence of social media platforms and mobile applications continue to push interest and sales among the younger generation.

KL-based local reseller The Lux Find director Datuk Dr Alex Liau said the local secondhand luxury market is expected to grow even bigger than current market leader Singapore in the coming years.

“Definitely, (it) will be bigger (compared to) Singapore as it’s one of the biggest mid-hubs in Asia for businesses and resellers,” he told The Malaysian Reserve in an interview.

Currently, The Lux — which is both a pre-owned and brand-new luxury items reseller — is based on Instagram, but has developed a reputation via word-of-mouth among the circles of its clients.

To date, it has 17,000 followers on the Instagram and a brick-and-mortar shop located at the affluent neighbourhood of Mont Kiara.

The firm is one of the hundreds of industry local players; some of which have been established since the early 2000s.

The shift of preference among millennials is also identified as one of the contributing factors that is boosting the sales of luxury goods.

Reebonz senior marketing manager Bernardi Ng said among the signs of a mature market is an active secondhand luxury goods market.

“Once the market is more mature and they have enough of their current luxury items, they are likely to sell them — although currently in Malaysia, there is heavier buying in the brand-new segment,” he said.

He said with the increase of access to the luxury market among the youths, designers have to shift their designs to something more consumer-friendly.

His opinion echoed a recent news report from Reuters which stated that “sales of secondhand luxury goods — from Chanel handbags and Gucci dresses, to Rolex watches — are thriving on dedicated web platforms that are drawing a younger clientele”.

It was also reported that the secondhand market generated US$360 billion (RM1.47 trillion) worldwide in 2017, according to fashion resale service Thredup.

Online sales of secondhand items are increasing by 35%, compared to 8% for retail stores.

Using the Singapore-based Reebonz as an example, the company founded in 2009 has established operations in Asia-Pacific countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia and South Korea.

As of March 25, it closed its physical store in Lot 10 in favour of strengthening its online platform, which consists of both brand-new items on its main page Reebonz.com, while its client-to-client operations for the pre-owned segment is done on its mobile-only Reebonz Closets platform.

Ng said when buyers purchase renowned brands like Hermes or Chanel, they are investing in the value of the brands more than its cash value.

“They don’t really have a tendency to sell these things, but they do invest to keep it for the value. However, long-time investment in branded items is a more prevalent habit in the mature market,” he said.

According to Reebonz senior marketing executive Vincent Tan, European branded items are more sought-after than its American peers like Michael Kors or Kate Spade.


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