The Correlation Between the Sustainable Mindset and Buying Luxury

In all seriousness, does a Birkin ever end up in the landfill?


Thought-provoking questions like this and more have been recently raised. As one of the leading recommerce technology platforms for the most covetable designer handbags, we had to ask ourselves how much are we actually contributing to sustainability?

Thanks to research companies like Kantar, we have been able to determine just how sustainable luxury handbags really are – and our suspicions were pretty spot on. Luxury’s appeal is greater than quality materials and construction alone. We found that luxury handbag owners – aka YOU – are the driving force behind turning luxury into a more sustainable concept.

First things first, what counts as a luxury? For this study, we define luxury as items with an MSRP of $500 and higher. To better understand consumption patterns across the board, we took a look at purchase decision criteria amongst a random selection of female shoppers ages 18 and older, not only in the luxury space but also shoppers of fast-fashion (MSRPs less than $100) and accessible luxury (MSRPs $100-$499).

What are the findings?

In the luxury space, we found that sustainability factors account for 21% of the luxury shopper’s purchase drive, 6% for the accessible luxury purchaser, and 3% for the fast-fashion purchaser. What does that suggest? Though not a top driver, shoppers with a sustainability mindset are more likely to buy luxury handbags than accessible luxury or fast fashion handbags.

With that said, we further analyzed that purchasing quality handbags correlates to a positive sustainability mindset. For luxury handbag shoppers, 92% agree that it’s important to buy fashion accessories that will last a long time. Consequently, 73% of luxury shoppers agree that buying quality handbags that last longer is better for the environment. And more than 50% of luxury shoppers support brands that make an effort to source sustainable materials!

It goes without saying, luxury shoppers believe luxury is made to last. At FASHIONPHILE we couldn’t be happier, because we believe ultra-luxury is an investment for the long run. In fact, luxury handbag owners are more likely to keep their bags for longer (88% to be exact).

Pst, might I interest you with a bottle of our FASHIONPHILE Total Leather Care to treat and condition your leather bags? So worth it!

Will my handbag end up in the landfill?

About 33% of luxury handbag owners anticipate keeping their handbag purchases for over 10 years. On the contrary, fast-fashion shoppers believe their handbags will end up in a landfill within 10 years. It’s crazy but true: the mindset behind the purchaser can very much impact what ends up in the landfills and what doesn’t.

While connecting these dots, we can also better understand why luxury shoppers agree that the more money spent on a handbag, the more care is likely to be put into it. There is a direct correlation between cost and care. Roughly 77% of luxury shoppers invest in professional repairs when their handbags need it.

What comes next?

Now, the real question we want the answer to is: what happens when luxury handbag owners are done using their bags? Well, the end of the luxury handbag lifecycle might not be as unfortunate as you think.

Our research reveals that buying a luxury handbag is the most sustainable choice. Proof? Luxury handbags are 200% less likely to end up in a landfill (and 260% less likely compared to fast fashion). Why? Because luxury shoppers are heavily driven by brand values and cost, so it makes sense that they’re also likely to invest in life-extending repairs and to seek end-of-use alternatives from the landfill, such as reselling, gifting, or donating.

Fun Fact: FASHIONPHILE has seen products come through our Refresh buyback program up to 7 times; a truly remarkable occurrence when considering that we typically see only 7% of our inventory come back to us. The odds of that happening?

1 in 823,543!

So, what does this mean for all of us?

Well, the ultra-luxury resale cycle is booming and isn’t stopping anytime soon – and for good reason. About 73% of luxury handbag shoppers buy new and then resell, using proceeds to purchase another bag. That means ever-growing and ever-evolving handbag selections for you, and whenever you’re ready to buy or sell your pre-owned handbags, we’re here with the latest and greatest.

To conclude, it’s actually YOU, fashionphiles, that make luxury the most sustainable choice when considering handbags because it changes ownership and end-of-use behaviors – ultimately, supporting the circular economy. We love saving the Earth one fabulous bag at a time!

Read our full report, UNBOXED: Luxury Resale Review here.