Like London buses, there’s been a long wait after sister brands ZENITH Watches, FRED Jewelry and TAG Heuer have been on the platform for around two years. Also, like London buses, three came at once quite quickly – Tiffany & Co. was the first around six weeks ago, followed by CHAUMET a couple of weeks later.
Hublot is perhaps the most intriguing brand of the group to enter the Tmall fray so far. Typical wisdom might tell us that ecommerce caters for more entry level luxury consumers and not the typical HNWI who Hublot targets.The price point would certainly suggest there is catering for their entry level consumers with prices of their 50+ products starting at 43,300 RMB. However, the prices soar quickly, with the top priced timepiece on the store at 416,700 RMB.
Will it work? That remains to be seen – the average price point will place it somewhere between Jaeger-LeCoultre (188k RMB) and Vacheron Constantin (450k RMB) on the platform and given that in 2023 watches priced at over 100,000 RMB sold a combined total of ~220 units across all brands (including VC, IWC Schaffhausen, JLC, Piaget, Cartier, and Zenith) – we may expect somewhat of a slow start.
This is compounded by the recent earnings results, as we know the category is experiencing a more significant slowdown against the likes of fashion – highlighted by the slower than group average growth of the W&J division (7% YoY vs 14% for Fashion and Leather goods). Additionally given that most of the growth has been driven by Tiffany and Bvlgari.
With our eyes off the W&J division for channel expansion, we will now be looking to see if this change in attitude towards ecommerce platforms will be further spread throughout the LVMH group. Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior Couture may be the final dominoes to fall, but certainly it is worth looking toward the likes of Loro Piana, CELINE or even Fendi as potential next movers.
Let’s continue watching this space.