Clothing / Accessories

Collectors Viewing Secondhand Gift Sites Like Poshmark, RealReal, ThredUP and Others

Collectibles come in many forms. And what is a disposable asset to one person may represent a collectible to other people. That is the beauty of collecting. The 2021 holiday season and start of 2022 are going to be unique. We have come through the COVID-19 pandemic for the most part, but now there are severe supply chain issues that are impacting retailers in America whether they have brick-and-mortar stores or operate solely online. The good news here is that not everything requires chips operate.

Are collectors turning to secondhand sites such as Poshmark, The RealReal and others as they go beyond eBay, Amazon and other larger companies? The answer is undoubtedly YES! These sites offer luxury apparel, jewelry items and other accessories within collectibles that would frequently be considered consumer items rather than actual collectibles.

Sites like StockX are already well known for collectors and investors who buy items such as the hottest sneakers, apparel and accessories, collectibles, trading cards and others. Alt is deep into sports cards but $75 million in new financing to increase the transparency and liquidity of alternative assets like sneakers, watches, and NFTs. Alt is also reported to have over $70 million worth of cards stored in the Alt Vault already.

Poshmark, Inc. (POSH) is a company that is known for being a “social marketplace” for new and secondhand style products like apparel and accessories, footwear, home, beauty, electronics and even pet products. At the end of 2020 it boasted to have about 6.5 million active buyers. That figure on a trailing 12-month basis registered 7.3 million active buyers at the end of the third quarter of 2021, and the company boasted to have sold $442.5 million worth of gross merchandise value in the third quarter alone.

The RealReal (REAL) is also known for selling luxury merchandise. It reported that its gross merchandise value in the third quarter alone was $368 million (up 50% from the prior year). Its portion kept for the revenues was $119 million in the same quarter, indicating about a one-third keep rate. Still, the company has cited issues tied to elevated shipping costs and staffing challenges in RealReal authentication centers. The RealReal also noted that trailing 12-months active buyers were up 25% to 772,000 and its third quarter orders were up 38% to 757,000.

ThredUP (TDUP) is a company we mainly think of for clothes, but in accessories it also has many high-end purses. ThredUP has shown that new waves of consumers are planning to gift “secondhand” this year. Their view is that nearly 1 in 2 consumers are considering alternatives like thrift this holiday season in light of supply chain concerns. They also showed that 52% of consumers are concerned about rising prices of popular gift items and about one-third believe that limited inventories will make it difficult to find gifts.

With competition high for buying heading into year-end, it is more than conceivable that collectors are competing with holiday shoppers for some key luxury items that would fit within the theme of collectibles — watches, jewelry, purses and so on. We have even found trading cards this way, albeit by accident.

Collectors Dashboard evaluates high-end collectibles as an alternative asset class. The same capital that could have ended up invested in stocks or bonds is finding its way into alternative assets. There is no denying that people who collect luxury watches, jewelry and purses who are spending thousands of dollars on each item could have invested that same capital elsewhere.

If Poshmark has womens jewelry for $25,000 with key brands like Tiffany and other jewelry with appraisals that high, this is definitely high-end and luxury. And whether it is an investment may be up for debate, but there is resale value today and in the future if the condition is maintained.

There are some risks of course. Poshmark’s management believes that Apple’s privacy changes are a big issue. Holiday shipping delays were also cited as another headwind to contend with, and while the company does not pay for shipping on most orders they do pay shipping costs when delays cause an order cancellation. And of course there are ongoing COVID issues which may affect Poshmark’s international growth heading into 2022.

And what about the site for TheRealReal? It wants members to sign in before seeing all of its goodies for sale, but here are some of the high-end items that have sold:

  • $24,995.00 for a Van Cleef & Arpels 10 Motifs necklace
  • $5,650 for a Rolex Datejust watch.
  • $6,095.00 for a 2020 Cartier Love bracelet (gold)
  • $18,000.00 for a Clemence Birkin purse
  • $3,000 for a vintage Chanel red quilted flap purse

Here were some of the luxury and high-end purses and accessories being offered via ThredUP:

  • Chanel Patent Quilted Jumbo Double Flap for $5,999.99 (down from $8,500)
  • Chanel Leather Shoulder Bag for $5,102.99 (down from $6,800)
  • Chanel Leather Satchel for $4,699.99 (down from $8,500)
  • Louis Vuitton Mahina Calfskin Sevres Galet for $2,999.99 (down from $3,950)
  • Cartier Watch (gold) for $2,802.99 (from $7,000)
  • Chanel Watch also for $2,802.99 (from $5,500)

As a reminder, just because high prices are being asked does not mean that this is always the price that is paid. There is also no assurance that some sellers do not just have incredibly high prices advertised hoping for that one buyer who cares about the item more than caring what the price is. That certainly happens with “Buy It Now” listings in sports and other collectibles.