Has owning a nice watch, an item traditionally associated with making it big, becoming a thing of the past? The recent acquisitions and collaborations with other brands makes it seem so. Like other luxury brands, they have been slow to the e-commerce marketplace. And that may have influenced sales. L2 reports that America’s largest watch retailer, Tourneau, was just acquired by European retailer Bucherer. Luxury brand Richemont announced its intention to acquire the remaining shares of Yoox Net-a-Porter Group (the bid is currently under review by Italy’s stock market regulator, and an update is expected later this month).
Many traditional e-commerce holdouts have either partnered with online pure-play retailers to begin selling online, like Net-a-Porter and Hodinkee, or taken the plunge into online selling themselves. L2’s Digital IQ Index: Watches & Jewelry finds that 62% of brands now support DTC e-commerce, up from just 53% last year. At the accessible end of the price spectrum, there is near-universal DTC e-commerce adoption (90%).
Higher-end luxury brands remain a holdout, however: just 35% maintain their own online distribution. As gray market and resale sites continue to eat up their share of search real estate, perhaps more watch brands will come to recognize the value of carving out official space and becoming a true digital player.