April 15, 2020 6 min read

The Gucci brand needs no introduction.

It’s one of the oldest, best-known names in luxury goods.

But what do customers say? Are Gucci’s famously exorbitant prices really worth it? And whose opinion can you trust with Gucci’s products?

It’s easy to get carried away with their brand image and reputation.

Today, we’ll look at the reality behind the brand. Plus, we’ll look at how Gucci has recently begun appealing to younger generations.

Is Gucci a good fit for you?

Let’s start by pulling back the curtain on Gucci’s history.

The Gucci legacy

In 1921, Guccio Gucci founded a new fashion design house. He focused mostly on high-end leather goods, particularly luggage and equestrian supplies.

 

Guccio Gucci

 

It wasn’t long before Gucci’s name was associated with movie stars and jet-setting travelers. Along the way, Gucci—run by the three Gucci sons after Guccio’s death in 1953—began expanding their ever-growing catalog.

But in the 1990s, the company took a turn for the worse. Managed since the 1980s by Guccio’s grandson Maurizio, the company fell into trouble.

He was forced to sell the company’s stock, and things didn’t look good. But in the midst of the struggle, the Gucci brand made a small decision that set it up to be a market leader.

Gucci hired then-unknown designer Tom Ford.

Since the 1990s, the brand has more than recovered its reputation. In fact, Gucci was the brand with the fourth-largest growth in international value from 2018–2019, beating out giants like Starbucks, Nintendo, and Microsoft.

 

Brands with highest growth value bar graph

 

And that’s only the latest improvement in Gucci’s impressive rise to the top in the last few years.

But why?

What changed?

And what turned a stodgy Italian fashion house into the cultural icon of today?

Why is Gucci so popular today?

Gucci is seeing a resurgence in popularity like never before.

In 2017, customers younger than thirty-five made up 55% of Gucci’s sales.

A quick glance at Gucci’s age demographics tells the whole story — their audience is 31% more likely to be 18–24 years old.

 

Gucci Age Index

But why?

According to Julia DiNardo, a fashion studies professor at NYU, there are a few reasons why Gucci has captivated the hearts and minds of this generation.

First, Gucci has not been afraid to blend with pop culture and streetwear trends. Collaborations with other brands and designers have made Gucci popular with celebrities, rappers, and Instagram influencers.

The brand has also capitalized on the resurgence of “conspicuous consumption.” That is, showing off luxury items as status symbols and images of wealth.

The rebirth of large logos is playing a role in this, and Gucci’s iconic interlocking GG logo on its products makes it that much more visible.

But beyond the hype, is Gucci actually a good purchase?

Is it worth it to buy Gucci products?

The retailer offers men and women's apparel, accessories, fine and fashion jewelry, beauty products and home decor.

There are a number of reasons why Gucci can be a great purchase.

Superb quality. First and foremost is what you’ll notice in reviews online—Gucci products truly are excellent.

When you buy a product from Gucci, you can expect superior fabrics and leather, impeccable stitching, and a garment or accessory that’s built to last.

If you take good care of it, a Gucci product can last you a lifetime.

Excellent resale value. When you first buy a garment or accessory, you’re probably not thinking about reselling it right away. But while Gucci products can last a lifetime, many people change their style.

That’s where Gucci stands apart from the rest. Used products can be resold at a much higher price than a comparable brand. Research has shown, and professional reviewers agree—Gucci is one of the brands with the highest resale value.

Some used items resell for an incredible 96% of the original purchase price.

Undeniable status symbol. Do you want to show the world without a doubt that you can afford to live a life of luxury? Then Gucci is the way to go.

While there are certainly more exclusive or expensive brands, Gucci has an allure most people are familiar with. Everyone knows the name, logo, and symbolism of an item by Gucci.

Timeless fashion statement. Fashion—by definition—changes often. And yes, if you buy pink tweed bell-bottom pants, it might look dated in a matter of months.

But many items Gucci sells are classics. Belts, sneakers, handbags, and wallets with classic Gucci designs have been fashion statements for decades.

Choosing any design by Gucci is placing a bet on one of the world’s most well-known fashion houses. You’re guaranteed to have an authoritative look.

But there are a few downsides, too. Let’s look at those next.

What are the disadvantages of Gucci?

Gucci items aren’t for everyone, and there’s a reason why. Let’s start with the most obvious.

Luxury prices. We mentioned earlier that Gucci makes excellent products. But the obvious flip side of this is that you’re going to pay much, much more.

For most Gucci products, you should expect to spend $500 USD or more—even for something simple like a T-shirt.

You’re paying for the brand. Yes, the quality is great. But at the end of the day, a Gucci shirt or belt or handbag isn’t all that different from another high-quality piece.

But without the Gucci logo, the same item would be much more affordable. That’s neither right nor wrong; just remember that if you choose to buy Gucci, you’re buying it for the brand.

It can look pretentious. Earlier, we talked about how “conspicuous consumption” (that is, buying something unnecessarily flashy) has recently become popular again.

But what made it fall out of popularity? The market crash of 2008. With high unemployment rates, showing off wasn’t perceived like it was before.

Unsurprisingly, Gucci’s revenue has shot up as the economy has improved.

 

Kering global revenue graph

 

Still, a Gucci garment might be something to wear to a sleek party or a Manhattan job interview. But it would definitely be out of place volunteering at the local soup kitchen.

The nouveau riche look. Gucci began as a brand for the Italian elite. Today, it’s associated with rappers and Instagrammers. In short, the Gucci name has shifted in recent decades.

A 2018 New York Times article discussing Gucci’s shifting brand sums it up perfectly with the title, “Is Gucci Stylish or Tacky? Yes.”

Gucci’s rapid growth and brand name have made it an easy first stop for those trying to look fancy—whether or not they have good taste.

Is Gucci a good fit for you?

The decision of whether or not you should invest in items from Gucci depends on two factors: your needs and your buying habits.

If you’re looking for quality apparel and accessories, Gucci might be a good fit.

That’s particularly true if you want pieces that will stand the test of time and if you’re willing to do regular maintenance to keep your collection looking great.

And for people who are looking for high fashion that shows wealth and sophistication, Gucci is likely a perfect choice.

But if you're looking for something more cost-effective... not so much.

Gucci's cheapest item available on their website at the time of writing is this $195 silk neck bow:

Gucci polka dot and double G silk neck bow

(Heck, you can get 5 beautiful dainty rings for less than that!)

 

Buying habits matter, too. If Gucci is out of your price range, then it’s best to stick with something you can afford. You could also consider saving for a signature item, like a purse or pair of statement shoes.

If you’re trying to decide what to purchase, the most iconic pieces are Gucci’s leather goods, which make up 58% of total revenue.

 

Gucci revenue share worldwide pie chart

 

And, of course, if you have the disposable income to spend and appreciate the Gucci style, it might be a perfect fit.

Conclusion

Gucci has a renowned history and is currently seeing a resurgence in popularity.

The brand has a reputation for a reason. It’s known for high-quality, long-lasting clothing and accessories that make a statement. But it also comes with a hefty price tag.

At the end of the day, only you can decide if Gucci is a good fit for your personal style.