Pre-loved? Analysing the Dubai Luxe Resale Market
This chapter explores the notion of secondhand luxury fashion in Dubai. We investigate the unique characteristics of the secondhand luxury market defined by this rapidly growing, nouveau riche region, with a focus on the challenges and opportunities for the sector. Qualitative data informs this chapter, collected via a series of key informant interviews with consumers, experts and retailers from Dubai, as well as significant secondary data. Luxury retail in Dubai has grown rapidly in the last 20 years. Secondhand luxury is an even newer concept in Dubai and has only been in existence as a ‘sector’ for the last 2 years. Social status is critical in this new consumer market, and thus, wearing luxury brands is an important indicator of status. Super-rich consumers of luxury represent a relatively small group and tend to only wear items once, so articles can become secondhand very quickly, often ‘in season’, giving rise to the notion of ‘luxe fast fashion’ which, combined with an increasing interest in social responsibility and sustainability amongst the super-rich, has created a critical mass of items flowing through to the secondhand market. The research identifies three tiers of luxury consumer in Dubai, all of whom are culture bound which influences what, how, where and why they purchase luxury fashion. The primary tier made up of the super-wealthy social elite of Dubaians and expats, who would only ever consider purchasing new luxury items. These primary luxury consumers become the sellers of secondhand luxury and have distinct characteristics heavily influenced by local culture and social status. The secondary and tertiary tier luxury consumers are increasingly accepting the purchase of secondhand luxury. The secondary tier made up of wealthy expats, who are keen to convey their rising social status via conspicuous consumption of luxury brands, whilst the tertiary tier is characterised by the low-paid immigrant workers, who purchase secondhand luxury from ‘jumble sales’.
KeywordsDubai Luxury Fashion Conspicuous consumption Franchising Internationalisation
The authors would like to thank all the research participants for their valuable contributions to this research.
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