When you decide it’s time to sell one of your luxury possessions—something like a Rolex watch, a Birken handbag or a rare antique—you can go the traditional offline route, which often involves an in-person auction, a private dealer or an upscale consignment shop. Just don’t forget that today, you have online selling options that can also bring top dollar.
Why consider selling a luxury possession online?
There’s good news for anyone who’s invested in luxury items. According to recent analysis, the overall global luxury goods market has rebounded since the pandemic, growing between 19% and 21% in 2022. Along with luxury cars and luxury hospitality, personal luxury goods (clothing, accessories, watches, etc.) make up 80% of the total luxury market.
The same study projects that the customer base for luxury goods, which stood at 400 million in 2022, will grow to 500 million by 2030, led by members of Generations Y and Z.
Additional market research found that the global secondhand luxury goods market hit $31.1 billion in 2022. It’s expected to grow to $51 billion by 2028. This includes everything from “antique furniture, artworks, jewelry, footwear, apparel, and fashion accessories, such as bags, watches, etc.”
A driving force in all this growth: The increasing number of luxury brands that now sell their new merchandise online based on demand from luxury buyers (often millennials and zoomers), who want to shop online for their next high-end purchase.
In turn, this has given rise to a growing number of secondhand luxury platforms where those same millennial and zoomer buyers routinely shop for pre-owned items like your Patek Philippe watch or Chanel jacket. It satisfies their desire to purchase with both luxury and sustainability in mind.
How to get the highest dollar when selling your luxury goods online.
Your quest to sell a high-end possession online should start the same way you’d prepare for an offline sale:
- Ready the item to sell: For example, if it’s an antique clock, make sure it’s in good working order; luxury apparel, have the item professionally cleaned; a piece of art, gather any provenance documentation you obtained when you bought it.
- Determine the luxury’s value: This may take a bit of offline and online sleuthing, especially for antiques and fine art. Local resources that can help you research the history and value of such items include libraries, art museums or galleries and antique dealers or stores. You can also request an online appraisal from sources like Christie’s, Gannon’s, Expert or WorthPoint. For luxury personal goods, consider the retail price you paid and the going rates for similar pre-owned items being sold both offline and online.
From here, the process varies from an offline sale:
- Find the right secondhand luxury platform for your item: On some, such as FashionPhile, Vestiaire Collective and The Luxury Closet, you can sell your designer apparel and luxury accessories. On others, you can list for sale your fine art (e.g., Artnet, Artsy and MutualArt) or antiques (e.g., eBay, Chairish and RubyLane). Have rare or antique books in your collection you want to sell? Your options include sites like AbeBooks and Biblio.
- Understand how the platform works: Look for sites that feature an authentication process. This helps convince buyers of the bona fides and worth of your item. Beyond that, find out the following:
- What percentage of the sale do you get and what percentage does the site keep?
- Are there buyer and seller shipping fees?
- Are there any other fees associated with selling on the site?
- How are disputes between buyers and sellers resolved?
- Are items similar to yours selling at their asking prices on the site?
- How well-trafficked is the site?
- Get your item certified as authentic before listing it: Follow the platform’s process for getting an authenticity badge for your item to induce buyers to pay your asking price.
- List it on multiple sites: Unless a platform’s user agreement doesn’t allow you to list an item on another site, use multiple secondhand luxury platforms to expand your pool of potential buyers.
How to protect yourself when selling luxury goods online.
There is risk with anything you do online today as evidenced by things like celebrity, charity and P2P scams. But that shouldn’t scare you from selling your luxury items online. Just follow these rules to protect yourself from getting caught up in a scam and to minimize the risk of other issues related to your sale:
- Only choose credible secondhand luxury platforms with secure payment vehicles.
- Read all of the fine print in the platform’s user agreement.
- Don’t go outside the platform to communicate with or complete the sale with a buyer. If you do, you lose the platform’s protection and risk being scammed.
- Prior to shipping your item, take multiple photographs to document its condition and any visible brand tags, seals or engravings, as well as anything else that shows its worth, background or provenance.
Once you sell the item, don’t forget to call your insurance agent because disposing of a valuable item could lower your homeowners premium, adding to the financial benefit of your sale.
Editor’s note: Quorum is not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned in this article and derives no benefit from these businesses for placement in this article.