While Jewelry brands are the most prolific e-commerce players in Europe, Watch brands lag. Nearly half of Jewelry brands in the U.K., France, and Germany sell directly to consumers online, according to L2’s e-commerce report. However, only 14% of their Watch industry counterparts sell directly in the U.K., and that proportion falls to less than 10% in France and Germany.
Many European brands, such as Bell & Ross, Breitling, and Bulgari, currently use the U.S. as a test market for e-commerce. That means central site developers are on a different continent from local marketing teams– slowing down feedback and introducing potential conflicts regarding best practices.
Because of the threat caused by gray marketers, all brands in the sector should have specific plans for addressing e-commerce in Western Europe. Digital Genius brands Tiffany & Co. and Cartier, along with nearly half of the Richemont portfolio, operate e-commerce in all the major European markets, and Chopard and TAG Heuer recently launched e-commerce in the U.K. However, the rest of the Index has not yet caught up.