Supply Chain Issues Boosted Resale in 2021 — and Brands Like Nike and New Balance Saw the Biggest Wins

Supply chain issues drove up the resale value for certain limited products in 2021.

Sold out styles drove 50% more new buyers than other items on the resale market, according to The RealReal’s 2022 luxury resale report, which analyzed resale trends across the platform’s over 24 million members.

Shipment delays and factory shutdowns were mostly to blame for these sold-out products. Supply chain issues in 2021 created a mismatch between supply and demand. As such, the resale market was often the only place for people to get their hands on certain luxury items, generally at a much higher price point. This caused certain coveted items like the Hermès Avalon blanket and a Chanel flap bag to see surges in value, thanks to being almost impossible to obtain on the primary market.

Within the booming resale sector, high value Nike sneakers topped the market in terms of value.

The resale value for in-demand Nike sneakers grew 32% year over year, nabbing the top spot among the top five brands with the the biggest resale value gains. After Nike, brands that made it to the list included Rolex, Bottega Veneta, Chrome Hearts and Hermès.

The RealReal
Nike sneakers had the biggest resale value gain in 2021.
CREDIT: The RealReal

Part of the reason for Nike’s continued resale success was its low supply of items in high-demand, such as its coveted sneaker collaborations. One pair of Nike SB Dunk Low Staple NYC Pigeon sneakers, designed by Jeff Staple, sold for $18,000 on The RealReal, making it one of the most valuable pieces to ever sell on the site.

“Rapidly rising demand and limited availability for its most sought-after styles drove Nike to see double the resale value gain of any other brand this year,” said Mayank Hajela, The RealReal’s senior director of men’s. “While the release of new Dunk styles and ongoing collaborations with brands like Off-White and Sacai made Nikes coveted across generations, it’s primarily savvy millennials who are flipping pairs for profit.”

New Balance had a strong year as well, with the resale value for the brand growing 61% year over year. Certain New Balance sneaker collaborations resold for up to 387% more than retail price.

“When Teddy Santis of Aimé Leon Dore was tapped to be a creative director for New Balance, he applied his clean-cut design aesthetic to turn almost-forgotten styles like the 550 into iconic must-haves, driving up popularity and demand for the brand,” said The RealReal sneaker and streetwear expert Sean Conway. “This year, New Balance achieved something most of its competitors didn’t — rising resale demand and value for its basic styles and colorways.”

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