What's more glamorous than corporate stocks, easier to maintain than a sports car and less volatile than NFTS? A well-chosen luxury handbag. And it's still a good investment.
"Designer handbags have become a true asset class, especially those classic styles from brands that hold or increase in value over time," says Danielle Gumina, content editor at Fashionphile. "The average value for the Chanel Double Flap increased by 50% between 2020 to 2022, while the Hermès Birkin 30 increased by 41% within the past two years."
The secondhand market has become a prime destination for shoppers looking for in-season bags and old styles alike, often at a discount. Even if bought used, these accessories still offer a return on investment. And more shoppers are buying bags to store and trade them, rather than just tote.
"More customers are shopping with resale value in mind from the get-go, which is one of the main shifts we've seen with the further adoption and ubiquity of resale," Noelle Sciacca, senior fashion lead at The RealReal, says. "They can recoup [a percentage] of their original purchase if they so choose to re-sell, which can help justify the splurge."
Classic heritage brands will always remain hotly sought-after investment commodities, she adds: "Resale prices for Hermès, Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton are still up 17% from where they were in 2019, signaling these bags are still strong investment."
So, which bags are worth the money in 2023? We canvassed the world's best secondhand bag dealers, asking for their insight. Here's what they had to say.
The best luxury handbags to invest in secondhand
Sciacca of TheRealReal calls out Louis Vuitton's Cité bag, which has been growing in popularity since its resurgence on the Fall 2022 runway, as a stand-out. She also cites the popularity of tiny business style totes, such as the Saint Laurent's Nano Sac de Jour, Chanel's vintage totes and Dior's mini Lady Bags.
There also seems to be a big appetite for bags on the other end of the size spectrum: Tirath Kamdar, general manager of luxury at eBay, suggests keeping our eyes peeled for the Saint Laurent Icare, for which searches on the site surged by 215% in the second half of 2022.
The trend toward re-editions means everything old is new again — especially when it comes to handbags. With the Y2K revival stronger than ever, Gumina notes the artist collaborations of the early aughts (think Takashi Murakami X Louis Vuitton) and recent projects like Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama make revisiting these launches a safe bet. The Vernis Kusama Infinity Dots Papillon 30 Red bag and the Fendi Sequin Pailettes Baguette (a "Sex and the City" staple) both hold a lot of investment potential, she says.
And while the new year will inevitably usher in new trends, the brands that made a big splash in 2022 still have some power.
Kamdar confirms that, "from just the first few weeks of 2023, searches show that the Dior Saddle Bag, Fendi Baguette, Hermès Kelly and Louis Vuitton Speedy are already some of the most-searched for styles."
Vestiaire Collective highlights a handful of styles from last year that are still safe investments, namely: Louis Vuitton's Speedy, Neverfull and Pochette; Prada's Tessuto; Gucci's Jackie Vintage and GG Marmont; and the Lady Dior.
There are also exciting newcomers earning their spot on the It-bag fashion map. Tirath calls out Telfar as a prime example of a newer name offering an impressive return of investment: In the past year alone, searches for Telfar on eBay were more than 11,000 times a week. Telfar's Circle bag in particular spiked by over 3700%.
Meanwhile, Sciacca from TheRealReal shouts out Luar, which is proving to be bankable on the secondary market.
When to Buy
As with most things, investment is all about timing. During the pandemic, most secondhand platforms saw prices skyrocket for ultra-luxe brands such as Hermès, Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Without the option to go on vacation or dine out, many with disposable income redirected their assets to handbags. But according to Gumina, those prices are finally softening.
"The average resale value fell 14% for Chanel bags in 2022, 12% for Louis Vuitton bags and 24% for Hermès bags," she says. "But these brands continue to be top sellers at Fashionphile."
Among many categories, luxury bags are being singled out for its risk-reward proposition.
"Amid economic uncertainty, we're seeing luxury accessories are increasingly being considered an investment. We have found that nearly 1/2 of surveyed luxury shoppers keep an eye on the current value of their luxury accessories, and 80% of surveyed luxury shoppers consider the value of their luxury accessories the same or less volatile than their other assets," says Kamdar.
In other words, if you're considering investing in a handbag, now's your time to snag one — before it sells out. Scroll below for some of the best ones to bid on now.
Saint Laurent Icare, $930 (current bid), available here
Christian Dior Tan Leather Saddle Bag, $790 (current bid), available here
Hermes Kelly 32 Handbag Box Calf Leather Cadena, $3380, available here
Telfar Round Circle Bag Black, $1000 (current bid), available here
Louis Vuitton Vernis Kusama Infinity Dots Papillon 30 Red, $1495, available here
Fendi Nappa FF 1974 Embossed Baguette Mimosa, $2350, available here
Christian Dior Lambskin Cannage Medium Lady Dior Navy, $2295, available here
Louis Vuitton Monogram Multicolor Mini Sac HL Speedy White, $1450, available here
Chanel Caviar Quilted Medium Double Flap Black, $5420, available here
Hermes Togo Birkin 30 Feu, $14,495, available here
Louis Vuitton Monogram Cite GM, $833, available here
Louis Vuitton Monogram Multipli-Cité, $786, available here
Gucci Horsebit Glam Hobo, $376, available here
Saint Laurent Nano Sac de Jour Tote, $1295, available here
Chanel Caviar Shopping In Chains Tote, $2300, available here
Christian Diori Mini Diorissimo Lady Dior, $1,925.00, available here
Prada Tessuto Silk Handbag, $380, available here
Gucci GG Marmont Velvet Crossbody Bag, $640, available here
Gucci Jackie Vintage Handbag, $494, available here
Louis Vuitton Pochette Accessoire Leather Handbag, $755, available here
Opening Ceremony x Luar Ponyhair Handle Bag, $186, available here