Birkin bags are actually a wise investment, says study

Jan 15, 2016 at 12:29 a.m. ET
Image: Georgie Wileman/Getty Images Entertainment

What do a car, a home and a Birkin bag have in common?

They're all investments, though only one consistently goes up in value: a Birkin bag.

The bags — designed by Hermès and named after singer and actress Jane Birkin — will set you back at least $10,000, though prices can range as high as $100,000. But, unlike cars, they actually go up in value the longer you have them.

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A recent study conducted by online luxury Web site Baghunter found that the value of Birkin bags increased an average of 14.2 percent a year over the past 35 years, a better return than both gold and stocks.

"In particular, the study displays how high-end, rare and sought-after luxury items such as Hermès Birkin handbags have never dropped in value, even during times of recession and economic difficulty," Evelyn Fox, the founder of Baghunter, told Luxury Daily. "There is a difference between luxury and ultra-luxury. While the luxury market suffers during worse economic times the ultra-luxury market is impervious to economic factors that can affect other industries such as high-street retail and stock markets."

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Baghunter estimates that the value of Birkins could double in the next 10 years, so purchasing one now might be a good investment if you have the means and can actually get your hands on one. According to a report by Planet Money, they may seem readily available in the designer's boutiques, but Hermès salespeople typically tell people there's a multi-year waitlist. The way to get one? Spend a ton of money.

"She came out with a big orange box — a Birkin bag. And she let him buy it for $20,000," reporter Stacey Vanek Smith said in the report of the man she followed, Michael. The key? He spent a ton of money on other Hermès products first. "Michael had accidentally cracked the code — buying a bunch of really expensive stuff at the Hermès store first, then casually ask for a bag, and you'll get one."

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With all that said, it's probably still better to put your money into something you can live in — like a home — or in an education, rather than a handbag.

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