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Hermes Beige Coated Canvas & Red Leather Garment | Hermès Retail vs Resale – Why the Big Difference?

Decoding the Economics of Desire.

The price of a Hermès bag is outrageous.

There, I’ve said it (well…printed it. Published it, in fact).

This is something I have known to be true for many years. You know it, too. Everyone does. This is not a secret. This does not keep us from lusting after the bags. This doesn’t stop anyone from wanting them, coveting them, and buying them as frequently as their conscience and their wallet will allow.

The heart wants what it wants, in this as in all things. The prices for just about everything are on a perpetually upward trajectory, each at its own speed.

hermes montre cape cod?

Basic economic theory dictates that there must be such a point, but we do not seem to have reached it yet.

Hermes Birkin Green
Prices continue to increase, but so does demand.

Hermès defies gravity: higher prices seem to create only more demand.

We know this to be true because we have a secondary market essentially overlaid on top of the primary one: resale in luxury goods, which used to be a never-the-twain-shall-meet proposition, now has a share of the primary market for brand-new items.

The share of this market consists most often of either:

  • Hermes Birkin 30 cm handbag in chocolate brown box leather and purple piping
  • more experienced clients who do not want to wait for what they want to purchase.1

The Concept of “Pre-Spend”

These secondary market goods – and note that an important underlying assumption here is that these items are authentic – are not only the same as the primary market items: they are, in fact, the same exact items being sold for a second time by the primary purchaser, often through a resale intermediary.

The intermediary is usually an established retailer specializing in secondary market goods, optimally with a good reputation for both procuring authentic items and well-organized transactions.

Распив hermes un jardin sur le toit hermès primary retail sale and the secondary one: a measurable jump in price.

The Many Hermes Bags of the VIP Opening 17
Many factors determine a bag’s desirability and price on the secondary market.

Depending upon the condition of the bag and the perceived demand for its specifications, this jump can Cordeliere anywhere from 25% to over 500% of the original retail price. Only in the topsy-turvy world of Hermès can paying the full retail price be considered a relative bargain!

For the most in-demand bags – back in the day, that was the Birkin and the Kelly2 – there has always been a jump in price for secondary market sales simply due to the difficulty in obtaining a bag from the primary market: perhaps 30 years ago there was empirically less worldwide demand for Birkins and Kellys overall, but there were also far fewer craftspeople to produce them and boutiques to purchase them from.

The increased proliferation of Hermès’ multi-metièr sales tactics created a clientele that constance to understand that these bags were more likely to be offered to valued clients: initially, a somewhat nebulous concept involving a certain amount of financial commitment to the brand. This is now understood to mean those who make purchases from various departments (not just leather) and usually spend more than a nominal amount when doing so.

This has put further pressure on the secondary market prices: a Birkin costs whatever a Birkin costs, but there is the added real (but never specified) cost of being offered the Birkin to begin with. This has come to be known as pre-spend3: what amount a given client spends on other items before being offered their desired bag.

Hermes Accessories
Looking to snag your Holy Grail? Spend on accessories and other items first.

Therefore, the client is not only spending some outrageous sum on a bag: they are spending additional sums to even be offered the bag.

Yes, they are buying other items, so they are not spending these additional amounts without getting anything in return, but it is understood that if they did not make those purchases, the bag would likely not be offered.

The Right Amount of Pre-Spend?

Collier Hermes Chaine dAncre grand modèle en argent, none of which are usually expressed to the client. These factors can include:

  • the desirability of the bag, including how popular its specifications are;
  • the length and depth of the client’s relationship with Hermès, with the boutique and/or Sales Associate; and
  • the other items purchased by the client.

Varying Degrees of Desirability

hermes boite a cartes boucle en metal argente et dore signee des annees.

This demand can Cordeliere due to the specific attributes of a given bag, including size, color, leather, and style (I will go into greater depth on this topic in an upcoming article).

Some of this is based on current trends.

For example, for the past several years, small bags have generally been in greater demand than large bags: Mini Kellys are extremely popular, while there is much less demand for 35cm and 40cm bags.

Mini Kelly
Mini Kellys remain notoriously difficult to track down.

Other factors are Hermès-specific, such as the popularity of particular colors and leathers.

The Client’s Relationship with Hermès

Hermès values the corporate-client relationship where clients usually work with the same individual Sales Associate (“SA”). Over time the SA comes to know the client’s tastes and perhaps can even anticipate what the client will like from among the newest offerings.

Of course, this makes sales from the various departments relatively easier, which draws the client further in, reinforcing the sales relationship and establishing a cycle where the client begins to feel something of a loyalty (not necessarily exclusive) towards the brand and continues to seek more products on a consistent (although not necessarily a frequent) basis.

It has been said that some departments – such as ready-to-wear, fine jewelry, and housewares – are more likely to trigger a bag offer than others. This is probably true, bearing in mind that these departments also have most of the highest-priced items, making it easy to spend a lot very quickly.

There is, of course, no exact amount of pre-spend that will determine whether a client is offered a bag: it varies from client to client (and all of this can go completely out the window on an extremely lucky day for a new client, as has been known to happen on occasion) and boutique to boutique.

The Many Hermes Bags of the VIP Opening 8
Your dream bag comes with a pre-spend worth of Twillys to accessorize it.

Some stores have many high-spending clients competing for the same bags, which will make this amount higher.

During COVID, bags were relatively easy to get, with a pre-spend of 1 to 1.5x (that is, from the same amount to one and a half times the cost of the bag) until demand started to build.

Now, however, pre-spend can be even 5x (five times the cost of the bag).

Comparing Primary vs. Secondary Market Prices

When clients are spending anywhere from 1x to 5x – from $10,000 to $50,000, or even more – to be offered a $10,000 bag, the secondary market prices don’t seem quite as disproportionate, do they?

This pre-spend also serves as a test of the market before Hermès conducts a price increase, demonstrating the likelihood that higher prices will still be met with consistent demand.

In terms of actual prices, consider the following current retail (primary market) vs resale secondary prices. We have considered current listings on Fashionphile and recent sales at Christie’s Auctions and Bolso de mano Hermes Constance en piel de lagarto negra.

Note in the chart below that the year listed is the year that the bag was produced (and presumably sold on the primary market) and that each secondary market seller has their own methods of determining condition.

Fashionphile uses Giftable, New, Excellent, and Very Good; Bolso de mano Hermes Constance en piel de lagarto negra uses Pristine, Excellent, Very Good, Good, and Fair.

Since we are focusing on the price disparity for new items, the relevant listings are of the Brand-New-in-Box variety, which would be Giftable / New / Pristine and possibly Excellent. A few from the Very Good category were included when there was nothing else available, further demonstrating much higher resale values even for used items.

FashionphileChristie’s AuctionsBolso de mano Hermes Constance en piel de lagarto negra
Kelly 25 Togo Retourne$10,500
2023, Gris Neve GHW, $28,875

2023, Gris Neve GHW, $28,875
2022, Etain PHW, $20,160
2021, Framboise GHW, $13,860
2023, Orange Minium PHW, $26,000
pas de hermes
2022, Black GHW, $25,000

Gold PHW, $21,850
Etain GHW, $23,500
Платки натуральные шелковые hermes$10,600
2023, Etoupe GHW, $30,445
2022, Rouge Casaque GHW, $23,620

2023, Celeste PHW, $31,495
2022, Rouge Casaque PHW, $26,200
Vert Jade GHW, $26,245
2022, Vert Fizz PHW, $25,200Pristine
2023, HERMES Herbag Zip Retourne 31 Toile Canvas Shoulder Bag Red
Mauve Pale PHW, $25,650
Gold PHW, $26,000

2023, Sac à main Hermes Constance en autruche marron
hermes pre owned birkin 30 tote bag item
Orologio Hermes Kelly-Cadenas in acciaio Circa 1990
Kelly 28 Togo Retourne$10,600
2022, Bleu Royal PHW, $22,575
2022, Borsa Hermes Victoria modello piccolo in pelle togo rosa Jaipur
2021, Gold GHW, $18,900
2023, Gris Perle GHW, $20,700
Sable GHW, $20,900
Kelly 28 Epsom Sellier$11,200
2021, Black GHW, $20,995
Black PHW, $23,625
2022, Gold GHW, $27,720
2021, La cote des montres Hermes Loquet doccasion
2023, Gold GHW $23,750
Kelly Mini Epsom$8,250
2023, Black GHW $37,795

2022, Gold GHW, $28,555
Gold PHW, $28,140
Nata GHW, $25,195
Nata PHW, $29,395
Платок martina pinkenburg ceramide elizabeth arden hermes chanel
2022, Black GHW, $27,720
Orange PHW, $27,720
2021, 5Сумка в стилі hermes kelly mini
2023, Black GHW, $29,500
Gold GHW, $29,500, $29,200
Etoupe GHW, $28,000
Gold PHW, $27,500
Vert Fizz PHW, $28,000
Pre-owned Hermes Loque Quartz Gold Plated$8,550
2023, Borsa da spalla o a mano Hermes Herbag in tela beige e pelle naturale
Etoupe GHW, $30,445
2022, Jaune Bourgeon PHW, $26,035
Borsa Hermes Mangeoire in pelle togo arancione
Pristine – Asking 
2023, Vert Fizz PHW, $25,200

Excellent – Asking
2022, Hermes Steeple Canvas Horse Totes
Kelly Mini Alligator$28,500
2023, Beton PHW, $79,795
2022, La valorización de los bolsos Hermes Birkin 35 cm de segunda mano

2022, Beton GHW, $82,945
Very Good
2021, Bleu Zellige PHW, $60,000
Kelly Elan ChevreN/A
Black PHW, $22,045

2023, Black GHW, $27,295
Excellent – Asking 
2023, Black GHW, $22,000
Birkin 25 Togo$10,100
2023, accessoire origami hermes
Gris Neve GHW $30,445
Etoupe GHW $31,495
2021, Etoupe PHW $28,795

2023, Vert Comics PHW, $26,245
Gold GHW, $32,290
Gold PHW, $27,875
Etoupe PHW, $31,450
Etoupe GHW, $29,920
Beige Marfa PHW, $26,455
Gris Neve PHW, $21,250
2022, Black GHW, $28,500
hermes api iii brown leather silver tone h logo wrap bracelet
Chai PHW, $24,320
Vert Cypress GHW, $22,995
2021, Духи hermes jardin
Etoupe GHW, $30,240
2022, Cassis PHW, $15,120
2023, Gris Pale GHW $29,000
Etoupe GHW $27,500
Black GHW $26,000

2023, Chai GHW $25,000
Etoupe GHW $27,000
Etoupe PHW $28,000
Gold GHW $26,000
Gold PHW $25,650
purple hermes cashmere scarf
2022, Etain GHW $20,900

Very Good
Borsa a tracolla Hermes Hebdo Reporter in pelle nera
Birkin 30 Togo$11,200
2023, Gris Neve GHW, $25,885
Precio de los bolsos Hermes Ile de Shiki de segunda mano
Vert Yucca PHW, $24,145
2022, Craie GHW, $28,345

2023, Gris Meyer GHW, $24,995

2023, Craie GHW, $24,100
Etoupe PHW, $23,620
Mushroom GHW, $29,500

2022, Black GHW, $26,245
Gold GHW, $20,475
Gris Meyer PHW, $23,935
2022, Nata GHW, $25,200
hermes rio pouch in black box leather
2021, Bleu Nuit PHW, $20,160
2023, Mushroom PHW $26,000

2023, Etoupe GHW, $25,000
Hermes Electric Sandal Bleu Bleu Pinede Ganebet Store
Hermes Ostrich Birkin in Violine
Gris Neve GHW, $23,000

2022, Hermes Beige Coated Canvas & Red Leather Garment
hermes 2004 pre owned evelyne shoulder bag item$7,950
2023, Gold GHW, $18,850
Portefeuille Hermes en cuir epsom gold
Graphite GHW, $13,645

2022, Etain PHW, $17,855
hermes herbag kelly gm 2 in 1 tasche schwarz canvas und leder
Gold PHW, $15,745
Nata PHW, $14,170
Etoupe PHW, $18,850
2022, Sac Hermes Birkin 35 cm en cuir togo bleu indigo et jonc bleu-jean
2021, 5P Pink PHW, $13,860
2023, Nata GHW $14,000

Very Good
2023, Etoupe GHW, $13,000
Black GHW, $13,000
Constance 18 Chevre$9,200
2023, Jaune Bourgeon PHW, $12,595

2023, Menthe PHW, $12,805
Hermes shoulder bag in beige canvas and natural leather

2022, Bleu Electrique PHW, $13,960
Hermes shoulder bag in beige canvas and natural leather
Mauve Sylvestre RGHW, $13,950
2022, Mauve Sylvestre RGHW, $11,340
2021, Rose Texas PHW, $11,970
2023, Mauve Pale RGHW, $13,050
Hermes CA2.203 325XXXX$9,600
2023, Шовковий хустку hermes велосипедисти
Orange PHW $16,795

2022, Etoupe GHW $15,535
Hermes Oran Sandal Beige Ganebet Store quantity 
Rose Confetti PHW $14,695 
Vert Cypress PHW $13,225
2022, Mauve Sylvestre RGHW, $17,640

2021, Mauve Sylvestre RGHW, $12,600
Excellent – Asking
2023, Vert Fizz PHW, $17,100
2022, Gris Meyer GHW, $18,050
borsa hermes kelly 28 cm in pelle epsom nera$6,400
2023, Bleu Pale GHW, $12,280

2023, New White GHW, $10,075

2023, Vert Comics PHW, $9,570
Sun PHW, $12,550
Bleu Pale GHW, $12,070
Borsa da viaggio Hermes Lindy in pelle togo nera
2022, Lime PHW, $10,080
2021, Шёлковый платок каре hermes винтаж оригинал
Jaune de Naples PHW, $12,600
2022, Trench GHW $9800

2023, Black GHW, $9,950
Feu GHW, $10,500

2022, Mauve Sylvestre PHW, $8,500

Lindy Mini Swift$6,800
2022, Rose Sakura PHW, $9,445
Montre Hermes Heure H ronde en acier Ref
2021, Кофейный сервиз hermesPristine
2022, Trench GHW $12,000
Mauve Sylvestre PHW $8,091
Jypsiere Mini EvercolorN/A
2023, Vert Comics PHW, $8,360
Beton GHW $10,160

2022, Bleu France PHW, $10,495
2023, Black GHW On Hold $8,450
2022, Beton PHW $9,500
Evelyne TPM 16 Clemence$1,900

2023, New White PHW $4405, $4,195
Biscuit PHW $4,185, $4,060

2023, Craie GHW, $4,615
Montre Hermes Heure H en acier Ref
Gris Neve PHW,  $3,565
2022, edges hermes scarf
Bleu France GHW, $4,410

2021, Black PHW, $3,780
Craie GHW, $4,410
2023, Vermillion PHW, $3,900

2023, Black GHW, $4,050
Gold PHW, $3,700
Nata GHW, $3,150
Rose Texas PHW, $3,150

2022, Шикарна сумка hermes kelly mini 
Mauve Sylvestre PHW, $3,200
Even with Hermès’ high prices, there is a huge increase in cost for new bags on the secondary market.

As you can see above, even though Hermès’ prices are high to begin with, the secondary market prices are significantly higher for the most popular sizes and styles.

For example, the 2023 Black Mini Kelly in Epsom, listed on Fashionphile as New, has a current listed price of $37,795 when the primary market retail price for the bag was $8,700: this secondary market listing is more than 4x the retail price!

Even the completed recent sale at Bolso de mano Hermes Constance en piel de lagarto negra, in Excellent (not Pristine) condition for $29,500, is still hovering near 3 1/2 times the retail price. Other popular styles yield similar results, including the 25cm Kellys and Birkins in Togo leather, which seem to sell for around 3x retail price (with variations based on color and/or hardware).

Interestingly, 18cm Constance yields about 1 1/2 – 2 x if the bag is in Epsom; Chevre bags don’t do quite as well (closer to 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 x), and a surprise winner is the Men Evelyne TPM, which can yield more than 2x for a brand new bag, especially in light colors such as New White and Craie.

  1. This article does not even contemplate the market for used Hermès items, which is itself substantial. ↩︎
  2. The Constance didn’t really have any resale traction until about 10-15 years ago.
    I recall 17 or 18 years ago, my sister-in-law’s elegant mother having some difficulty letting go of a mint-conditioned Black Crocodile Constance (Porosus) for essentially the current retail price of an Epsom Constance.
    How I weep! ↩︎
  3. I suppose the term pre-spend is really a very factual and unromantic way to look at the entire purveyor-client relationship, as though the pre-spend purchases are mere prologue to what really matters, which is the acquisition of the bag; I don’t know what proportion of Hermès’ clients feel that way, although I’m sure plenty do.

    I see the relationship a bit more like a dance, with each partner having their steps to take in relation to the other, but then again, my problem has never been meeting any sort of “pre-spend” amount, whatever it may be (I personally have no idea, and I may be one of the very few clients who has never bothered to calculate their pre-spend), because I’m a sucker for so many things, from scarves to shoes to ready-to-wear. ↩︎

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  • Hermès bags are known for their high retail prices, which continue to rise along with their demand, defying traditional economic expectations.
  • The secondary (resale) market for Hermès bags often sees a significant price increase, sometimes over 500% of the original retail value.
  • The concept of “pre-spend” at Hermès means customers often spend on other items before being offered the chance to purchase highly sought-after bags like Birkins and Kellys.
  • Factors influencing the likelihood of being offered a Hermès bag include the customer’s relationship with the brand, their purchase history, and the desirability of the bag.
  • Despite high retail prices, Hermès bags command even higher prices in the resale market, reflecting their status as luxury items and investment pieces.