Pre-loved Hermes, Chanel bags still in high demand during Covid-19
This is despite prices shooting up due to dwindling supply
Through the pre-loved luxury goods market on Carousell, Ms Joey Chen has bought four Hermes bags that cost a total of $52,000 since April, adding two Birkin models and two Kelly models from three different resellers to her collection of 17 luxury bags.
The 47-year-old, who works in the education sector, told The New Paper: "I had more time (during the stay-home notices) to think about adding to my investment portfolio, monitor the resale market and make quick offers to the sellers, although the discounts were small."
She snapped up three bags in shades of pink because she was "lacking in" pink bags and believes they can hold their value.
Ms Chen is not the only buyer making big-ticket purchases during the Covid-19 period when most Singaporeans appear to be tightening purse strings and spending cautiously.
Despite the economic downturn, the seemingly recession-proof secondary luxury market is thriving, with Chanel and Hermes bags increasing in value and demand for them remaining strong.
A spokesman from luxury brand reseller Welovechanelsg, which is on Instagram and Carousell, said there has been a 40 per cent increase in sales since March.
For its circuit breaker bestseller, the vintage Chanel Diana Flap Bag, the number of inquiries and purchases have increased by five times.
Due to the number of auctions dropping drastically across Japan - where some resellers get their bags from - the "dwindling supply drove prices up starkly between March and June".
Shop at Farfetch to find your picks on both new and pre loved items
The spokesman said the rise in procurement cost has forced the business to increase the selling price proportionally by 25 per cent to close to $5,000, adding: "The Chanel Diana Flap Bag is (still) a lot more affordable compared with new Chanel bags, especially with Chanel's recent price increases, and people feel that (the price) will just continue to go up, so they are buying now."
Ms Seren Lim, a financial consultant who runs online reseller TheCcollectors, said she sold 20 items in April - a 30 per cent increase from a usual month's sales - along with a 40 per cent increase in sales from February to June this year, compared with the same period last year.
She said: "Many buyers have been looking at classic designs and vintage pieces and want to secure them fast before the boutiques reopen."
Ms Jana Lata, general manager of Hermes and Chanel reseller BJ Luxury, added: "Luxury buyers are a niche audience as they come from the higher income bracket. It is a matter of opportunity cost for them. Funds otherwise used for holidays, wining and dining may now be used to purchase more Hermes bags, as opposed to depreciating assets such as luxury cars or diamond jewellery.
"Professionals have more time on their hands to explore social media for these investment pieces. Some customers find stress relief in shopping for luxury goods during the lockdown.
"We have had clients create Instagram accounts just so that they can follow us to browse our luxury bags."
Ms Florence Low, founder of Hermes consignment platform LuxLexicon, added: "What secondary traders like us offer to buyers is instant gratification. With the Hermes factory and stores closed during this period, the access to these coveted handbags are even more limited than before, so we see some customers giving up the wait and heading to resellers like us.
"Luxury handbags have always been seen as a safe haven for women to park their cash temporarily, given that prices for these luxury goods are always on an upward trend."
Ms Low said a client recently asked for advice on how to invest her $100,000, and ended up splurging on two rare Horseshoe Stamp Kelly handbags.
She said: "We have a dozen clients who bought from us the rare Hermes Himalayan Birkin or Kelly at prices between $115,000 and $120,000 in 2016, and are now sitting on a cool $100,000 profit each."
A 42-year-old company director, who wanted to be known as Ms Lai, recently acquired an Hermes Birkin 30 in Rose Sakura to bring herself "a little joy".
She said: "In periods of crises, recessions and downturns, we have to make rational decisions for ourselves given our own situations. It doesn't mean that we don't also contribute to charitable causes and do our part to help."