Who's buying $960 heels in the middle of a global pandemic? Turns out, the answer is quite a few people.
Though the Covid-19 crisis is reshaping the economy and impacting how people spend their money, it hasn't totally eliminated the luxury sector. On the contrary: Luxury consumers are still dropping serious wads of cash — they're just buying a lot more fancy sweatpants and home decor than they were before. (With the occasional pair of crystal-encrusted heels thrown in, for good measure.) That's according to Moda Operandi, at least, which released a new report on luxury spending based on its own consumer data and outside polls, on Thursday.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Moda Operandi's report found that since March 9 — when the WHO officially declared Covid-19 a pandemic — searches for "sweats" and "sweatpants" have increased by 50 and 85 percent, respectively, with the retailer's five best-selling pants falling under the "leisurewear" category.
Though luxury shopping has been on the decline, Moda Operandi was able to break down the decline by geography, and unsurprisingly, the data corresponds to some degree with the locations of the worst viral outbreaks. Regions like the U.K. and New York began to see a spending decline in March, while California, Florida and Texas continued to see growth until April, after which a decline was universal.
When luxury shoppers are spending their dollars, it's not just on sweatpants. Home decor has also been seeing a big bump as people are forced to stay in their own spaces: The category saw an 80% increase in sales when compared to the four weeks prior. And fine jewelry has actually seen a 35% uptick in comparison to the same period last year, perhaps because it represents an "investment" category that retains long-term value.
Brands that are faring particularly well with luxury consumers during this time include Bottega Veneta, whose leather bags nabbed nine of the ten best-selling bag slots on the site; Tbilisi-based Mach & Mach, maker of the aforementioned $960 crystal-encrusted pumps; and Agua by Agua Bendita, a Colombia-based brand known for its resort dresses.
Resort wear as an overall category also saw a boost in the double digits over last year, despite the fact that no one's going to be able to take the vacations all those swimsuits and beachy dresses were made for anytime soon. (Perhaps this is a good example of fashion as escapism.) Other bestsellers included Gabriela Hearst's One of A Kind Peacoat and The Row and Valentino's comfy "off-duty" boots.
According to the report, luxury consumers are also more inclined to spend money right now if there's an opportunity to "give back." Moda Operandi noted that its "Shop for a Cause" initiative, which donated a percentage of profits to organizations involved in Covid-19 relief efforts, "resulted in an increase in daily average full-price sales" — even when promotional activity was happening elsewhere on the site.