Retail therapy has been missed by many people over the last year, as non-essential shops around the globe were forced to close their doors. The closest thing our credit card could get to a shopping spree was watching back-to-back episodes of Sex and The City, followed by endlessly adding items to a virtual basket. However, as things start to return to normality, we can once again get excited about a trip to the high street, make use of the changing rooms, and lust after this season's latest trends.
With old gift bags and empty shoe boxes being the only reminder of our past ‘treat yourself’ moments, we wanted to investigate the real value of the packaging from luxury brands. From Tiffany’s little blue box tied up in a white ribbon to the iconic bright red shoe box from Nike, we are all wired to feel an element of excitement when we see these branded items; but have you ever thought how much they are worth when they’re empty? We analysed listing prices on eBay of empty items such as shoe boxes and carrier bags of some of the most popular designer brands in the world to find out.
Empty watch boxes take the top five spots as the most valuable pieces of branded packaging being resold; Rolex boxes come in as the most expensive, with an average resale price of up to £160. Rolex, a Swiss luxury watch manufacturer, is renowned for creating collections of prestigious watches since 1905 and have since produced over 800,000 pieces. The cheapest watch in the Rolex collection is their Oyster Perpetual which costs £4,100, while the Rolex GMT Master II Ice is the most expensive model range in the current collection with prices starting from £353,000. Interestingly, the most expensive Rolex ever sold was Paul Newman’s Daytona which sold for a record-breaking £12.9 million in 2017.
Following Rolex are four other luxury watch brands; Tag Heuer (2nd) empty watch boxes are sold for up to £149, Breitling (3rd) watch boxes are on sale for up to £131, the packaging of Omega (4th) watches have an average resale price of £126, while Seiko (5th) watch boxes are bought for up to £75.
Eight of the top 20 most valuable branded packaging are watch and jewellery accessories; the top five are dominated by luxury watch brands, while Tiffany & Co’s jewellery boxes were found to be the 11th most valuable with an average resale price of £51. The iconic duck-egg blue box tied up with white satin ribbon was inspired by Empress Eugenie de Montijo, the biggest fashion icon of the 19th century, who was once painted wearing a blue gown which acted as the influence for the official colour for Tiffany’s brand. The eighth jewellery brand featured in the top 20 list is Cartier, whose red leather boxes could be worth up to £35.
We also took a deeper look at specific sectors and once we had a closer look at beauty, we found that six of the top 10 most valuable beauty packaging were empty perfume bottles, which have a resale value of up to £50. Dior’s perfume bottles hold the most value and place the iconic beauty and fashion house at the top of this list; as Dior famously sells one of the most popular perfumes of all time, J’Adore Dior, there’s no surprise it takes the hot spot.
It’s interesting that empty candle jars also appear on the top 10 list; including, Diptyque in second place with an average resale value of £50, Cire Trudon in seventh whose packaging is worth up to £24, and closely followed by the luxury scent creator Jo Malone whose candle packaging is worth up to £23. Though you may question what anyone could do with an empty candle jar, many savvy influencers and beauty editors have taken to Instagram to show that you can repurpose them as makeup brush holders, a place to store cotton wool pads, or even as an alternative pot for your houseplants.
So, if you’re a self-proclaimed shopaholic and have hoarded your favourite branded packaging, it might be worth seeing how much money you could make off the empty boxes and cosmetic bottles you have laying around your house. You could even put it to good use on your next big shopping trip or put it towards paying off your credit card balance. Don’t have one? Compare credit cards with us. However, it's always worth remembering that a credit card requires regular repayments. You can accrue hefty interest and fees if you do not pay back the full amount each month.
Analysis was done by compiling a list of the most popular luxury brands, sourcing their empty packaging prices via eBay and taking the lowest and highest prices for each packaging item to create the median price. We then ranked the brands and the specific pieces of packaging from highest to lowest based on the median price. Prices were rounded to the nearest pound. All data is correct as of April 2021.
Salman is our personal finance editor with over 10 years’ experience as a journalist. He has previously written for Finder and regularly provides his expert view on financial and consumer spending issues for local and national press such as The Express, Travel Daily, and The Daily Star.