More than half of luxury buyers research products online prior to purchase, and of those 34% gravitate towards multi-brand, off-price destinations (vs. just 31% who prefer official brand sites). Often, those shoppers are directed towards gray market retailers and brands should be aware of their increasing influence on search results. L2’s 2015 Digital IQ Index: Watches & Jewelry finds that gray market watch retailers control a larger percentage of first-page search results for brand terms than brands themselves (29% vs. 22%).
Opaque pricing drives consumers to be even more receptive to gray market retailers. Fifty-three percent of watch brands provide pricing compared to 80% of Jewelry brands – where the gray market controls a smaller share of search results. In the jewelry category, gray market retailers hold just 7% of organic and 14% of paid first-page results for brand term search terms.