Times of uncertainty are usually periods where change occurs. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, watch brands are reconsidering their approach to digital commerce.
Brick and mortar stores have been the staple of the luxury industry for decades and they account for 90 % of the Swiss watch sales. However, the industry has been changing with groups like Richemont and LVMH stepping into the digital world.
Platforms like Mr.Porter pioneered selling watches online, but not all brands have been willing to dive into e-commerce. Watchmakers like Rolex, Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe initially refused to sell their watches online, but the recent pandemic seems to have changed at least one mind.
Patek Philippe, a proud member of what aficionados like to call the holy trinity, is starting to sell watches in the United Kingdom via e-retailers like Berry’s, Watches Of Switzerland and London Jewelers.
It makes sense since the majority of people are confined to their homes and the only way to reach them is digitally The brand is, however, not hurting its retail network by selling online themselves, they do it using their longtime retail partner’s channel.
This could be a turning point for the industry if Patek Philippe keeps selling watches online post-coronavirus and especially if the trend picks up. We will keep you posted if other brands decide to adopt the same approach.