THE LEX COLUMN: Risks and value in second-hand luxury goods
The UK thrift market has grown 9% a year since 2015
The word luxury comes from the Latin for excess. That is appropriate for an industry that depends on replacing clothes, shoes and bags before they have worn out. But thrift is emerging. The second-hand market for personal luxury goods has grown 9% a year since 2015, says consultancy Bain. It now accounts for 8% of the €260bn luxury market. That creates opportunities as well as threats. First, the risks. The growth of a second-hand market can cannibalise sales of new goods. It also makes them less exclusive, eroding their desirability. There are concerns about cheap knock-offs. French luxury company Chanel has launched lawsuits against online platforms it says are selling counterfeit handbags. The growth of the resale market poses a particular challenge to makers of watches. With jewellery, it makes up about 80% of the global luxury resale market. But taking control of pre-owned platforms can help brands protect their reputation. Last June, Richemont of Switzerland bought Watchfinder...