Ebay expands authentication program to luxury handbags
Online marketplace Ebay is seeking to cement its position as a top destination for buying and selling luxury products with the introduction of a professional authentication service for new and pre-owned handbags sold on the platform for more than $500.
The service covers handbags from 16 top global luxury brands, including Saint Laurent, Gucci, Celine and Balenciaga, among others.
The announcement signals the latest expansion of Ebay’s authentication program, which launched with luxury watches sold for over $2,000, before adding sneakers sold for over $100 at the end of 2020.
The inclusion of luxury handbags means that Ebay’s authentication program now covers three of its top-performing categories. According to the marketplace, there are an average of 1.41 million handbag listings on Ebay every day, with five handbags being sold on the website every minute. Ebay sold more than 2 million handbags in North America in 2020.
The category has also seen strong growth recently, with purchases of luxury handbags from designer brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada, having risen 31% year over year, while sales of mini purses and clutches have increased 72% and 30%, respectively, since February.
And the introduction of authentication for handbags could well give a further boost to this progress. Ebay’s sneaker sales have been growing at a triple-digit year-over-year rate in recent quarters, while growth in the platform’s watch business accelerated from 16% to 38% in Q1.
“Authenticity Guarantee has changed the way people buy and sell luxury items on eBay,” said Charis Márquez, Ebay’s VP of fashion, in a release. “There's a handbag bought every 12 seconds on our marketplace, and now we're expanding authentication to deliver an additional layer of trust and confidence for these shoppers and sellers.”
As part of the authentication process, sellers will ship purchased handbags directly to Ebay’s team of professional authenticators, who will carry out a thorough inspection on the items. Verified handbags are affixed with an Ebay security tag and a unique Authenticity Guarantee card giving detailed information about the product.
The program also offers verified returns, so sellers can be sure that the luxury handbag that is returned to them is the exact item that they originally shipped.
With the continued expansion of its authentication program, Ebay is seeking to compete with dedicated luxury marketplaces, such as The RealReal and Poshmark, for a bigger slice of the lucrative second-hand luxury market.
The strategy certainly seems to be unsettling the specialist platforms. Shares in The RealReal dropped around 3% following the announcement of Ebay’s handbag authentication service, while Poshmark saw its stock fall 0.3%.
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