The luxury fashion industry continues to grow in the Middle East, including the region’s consignment and resale market.
The Luxury Closet– an e-commerce consignment platform founded in Dubai in 2011, boasting more than 16,000 styles from an array of high-end designers — is evolving to keep up with the demand for luxury with a strategic focus on mobile commerce. The company launched an Android app on Tuesday to accompany its iOS release in October. The move is meant to increase product discovery for consumers and increase accessibility to products in its markets.
The Luxury Closet CEO Kunal Kapoor said more than 50 percent of the company’s sales are derived from mobile. The aim of the apps is to meet users on these devices (upon which U.S. consumers are estimated to spend upward of five hours a day) and lure them to continue to revisit to check out new styles from consigners. To date, the iOS app has 50,000 downloads. Though half of those users are in the United Arab Emirates, the United States is its third top market after Saudi Arabia.
“Apps are becoming the primary method of introduction to the client,” Kapoor said.
The app also helps shoppers maintain a personal wish list, and stay apprised of new deals and product listings through push notifications. Users can filter by a number of categories, including brand, price and condition. “[The app] encourages the behavior of checking very often and quickly, for example, for people sitting in hair salons or waiting at movie theaters,” Kapoor said.
Those looking to sell new and pre-owned items can do so on the app, as well, by following a seven-step process that requires them to fill out information about the products and upload images that the company will review.
Curated looks on The Luxury Closet iOS app
Though the expansion of the Middle Eastern luxury market slowed somewhat in 2016 — largely as a result of low oil costs, an increase in gold prices and an uptick in cost of living, according to a recent Deloitte report — it’s still on an upward trajectory. Tourism has played a significant role in the uptick, as affluent travelers from around the world continue to visit the region.
What’s more, there has been a rise in luxury styles for Muslim consumers. In the past year, several retailers, including Chanel, Tommy Hilfiger and Dolce & Gabanna, have started selling hijabs and modest clothing with Muslim shoppers in mind. Muslim shoppers spent $266 billion on clothing in 2013, and are expected to spend $484 billion per year by 2019.
A major contributor to the growing resale market, Kapoor said, is the quest for exclusive, one-of-a-kind items that resale and consignment provide. A top Luxury Closet customer recently told him she spends 90 percent of her wardrobe budget ($20,000 a month) on pre-owned products.
“Luxury is also about uniqueness. Everybody is going to buy the current season, but that’s not as unique as finding your own one-off piece,” he said. “It all comes down to choice, value and discounts. Sales are very attractive, and e-commerce is really redefining shopping. You don’t have to drive to a mall to check something out.”
Image courtesy of The Luxury Closet