In a recent article in ‘Time and Tide’, they wrote:
“As of today, you can buy Patek Philippe online. Will COVID-19 force more brands into e-commerce? “
A crisis can often prove the catalyst for change. Amid the chaos, we’re forced to rethink how we do things — often with positive results. The First World War, for example, had a radical impact in redefining civil liberties, race relations and women’s rights. It’s way too early to untangle the full impact of the coronavirus on the watch industry. But there are signs the pandemic could push certain brands to reconsider their stiff resistance to e-commerce.
Watch brands have always maintained a heavy reliance on selling through bricks and mortar stores. Morgan Stanley analysts estimate that third-party retailers account for some 90 per cent of Swiss watch sales. Direct online sales offer the alternative approach. Yet while some watch groups — notably Richemont and LVMH — have embraced online retail, most have only taken tentative steps into the virtual world.
A report last year from the online marketing consultancy Digital Luxury Group found that only 40 per cent of luxury watch brands are presently offering direct-to-consumer e-commerce. In fact, online sales of luxury watches account for less than 5 per cent of all sales, according to The Mercury Project, a data-driven consulting company focused on the watch and jewellery industry. “
It is likely that during the enforced lockdown that many other luxury brands that have traditionally sold their wares via a physical high street presence may now be considering entry into the lucrative eCommerce market place.
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