Luxury Swiss watchmakers change tack going digital and online

ZURICH (Reuters) – Luxury Swiss watchmakers, usually not big fans of online retailing, are launching a new all-digital Watches & Wonders event on Wednesday to display their latest products, hoping to revive sales hit by the coronavirus crisis. Pandemic-related factory and store closures hit Swiss watch sales last year and have forced brands to boost their often tiny online business and generally rethink digital activities. De Seynes said he expected a strong recovery in the group’s watch sales this year, with current trends broadly in line with the 28% increase in the final quarter of 2020. Rene Weber, analyst at Vontobel, estimated that only about 2% of Swiss watch sales in value terms were currently done online, with the share varying depending on the brand. Some Swiss luxury watch brands – such as Patek Philippe and Rolex – have preferred to stick with traditional bricks and mortar stores to sell their products that can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

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