You will come across several reports in the newspaper that the growing online sale of used watches has spurred Swiss watchmaker giants such as Audemars Piguet to contemplate on entering into the resale market. This market has a lot of potential for growth and increased sales which is much familiar to several online retailers such as eBay and Amazon.
The primary reason for these giant watchmakers to come into this market segment to buy and sell secondhand timepieces is to gain more control over their products through their life cycle at a time when the watchmaking industry is frantically looking for new and alternative sources of increasing sales and business growth.
Research and analysis and several other online reports suggest that within a very short timeframe the market for the pre-owned luxury watches business could as high as 10 to 20 times more than the collective size of the market for the new watches.
However, till now this segment was the playing field where especially the auction houses were found along with a few local independent shops and a handful of online platforms such as the Amazon.com Inc. and eBay Inc. The scenario is completely different now as even the more orthodox Swiss brands are focusing on gaining a foothold in this secondhand market segment and building their signature aura of exclusivity with their creations.
Recapture the lost market
The primary objective of almost all luxury watch manufacturing brands coming to this pre-used market is to recapture the lost sale in the new watches. You will see even century-old watch manufacturing companies in Switzerland is now experimenting with new strategies.
- It is because they want to recover from the hit they have taken in their business revenue due to the multiyear slump for which the crackdown on corruption in China is to blame.
- Last year the growth in export was as low as 3% only, all due to the rise in the demand for smartwatches. This is far shorter than the double-digit figure that you could have seen in the past decade.
As a result, giants such as Audemars Piguet has opened stores to buy and sell used luxury watches in spite of being the leading watch manufacturers in the industry producing about 40,000 new watches every year. They are one of the rare breeds of large and independent watchmakers in an industry that are only dominated by Swatch Group AG and Richemont.
Several other brands have also joined the bandwagon and have already tried and tested this concept of selling used luxury watches in Geneva and are planning to set up their stores in the US as well as in Japan.
Sales increase approach
Offering their used products online, the giant watch manufacturing companies that can afford also go a step ahead to offer a free extension of their guarantee by five years to those buyers who get them registered online. This has proved to be a high potential and alluring factor for the buyers that resulted in an increase of business revenue by as much as 12% last year, which is about 1 billion in dollar value.
- There are different companies have even been encouraged to open a new line with a unisex appeal to aim at both the sexes from the start. Therefore, now you do not have to worry about whether it is a man’s or a woman’s model when you want to sell your watches that are old and want to upgrade your collection.
- It is also seen that the companies that are around in the secondhand business are very fast to act. This is because e-commerce is just at the corner of the market threatening their sheer existence. Reports say that Amazon.com already has huge listings for all certified pre-owned Audemars Piguet watches as well as a wide range of new versions of the Royal Oak range. The processing range from $2,995 to $196,995 for the former brand and from $12,000 to $15,000 for the latter, showing the difference and threat very clearly.
- The approach of selling used watches in a secondhand market is not unique. In fact, it is just the ‘follow suit approach’ of the car brands. In either way, it gives both greater control over the happenings of their product after the initial sale.
The entire plan of these brands is to keep selling vintage as well as new watches in their stores but separately. This is because different offers attract separate clients. The OEM brands believe that it will be highly risky for their business and repute to leave this aspect in the hands of the people who have little knowledge about the product that they have not created themselves.
Momentum gaining marketplaces
There are a few online marketplaces that are gaining momentum globally as per the reports. The reports highlight the ways in which the global leaders as well as the merchants are selling successfully and are effectively accelerating their growth at the same time.
Looking at the report, it will be hard to ignore the proliferation of secondhand luxury watch marketplaces in retail. It is found that largest of all marketplaces sold more than $1.5 trillion last year which accounted for nearly half of the total online shopping on a global basis.
That is not all. The report also shows that the marketplace industry is rapidly growing and recorded a high 30% growth in the last year which is double the growth of online retail overall.
Adding to this, the third edition of Internet Retailer’s Online Marketplaces Report shows that the industry has become an integral part of e-commerce. Other facts that the report shows include:
- The growth analysis of the top online marketplaces
- Gross Merchandise Value of 2017 of the top global marketplaces
- Key data on the top US-based marketplaces
- Data on Amazon and eBay’s market share in the US
- Shopper demographic data
- Data on funding raised and much more.
Therefore, selling your watch online secondhand market is an approach that is effective and here to stay.