Pre-Owned Watch Market in China Continues Growing

Post by 
Thomas Piachaud
February 6, 2024

The pre-owned watch market in China continues to grow.Back in September we released our white paper – Pre-Owned Watches in China – the Time is Now – available for download from the Report section:

Since then, we have continued to track data across four of the key digital second-hand platforms in China, to uncover some interesting dynamics:

⌚️ In December 2023 > 20 Audemars Piguet, 29 Patek Philippe, 290 ROLEX, 542 Cartier and 982 OMEGA SA watches changed hands

⌚️This represents a monthly turn-over rate of inventory of about 20% for each of the brands – highlighting the dynamism of the market.

⌚️ Interestingly, the new listings for all the above brands outpaced the sales –the market is growing in terms of offering (and has been every month since we started tracking it in June).Retention Value

One of the important metrics that everyone wants to measure is the idea of retention value. Do items hold their value (or even increase them). We can measure this.

Retention value can be defined as:

1 – (pre-owned selling price / first-hand retail price)

Given that first-hand retail prices are mostly set by the platform selling the item, this number is directional and can only really be compared across brands. The most accurate way is to enter the true retail value for each reference manually.

On Hongbulin (the largest selection and based on our research the most reasonable appraiser in terms of pricing) we can compare our average retention values:

Omega – 39%

Cartier – 44%

Patek Philippe – 52%

Rolex – 61%

Audemars Piguet – 62%

While these numbers tell us that AP and Rolex fare better than Patek – there might be the need for a little more nuance - of the Nautilus' we found on the platforms, they were often selling at significantly above market price, collections such as the World Time – at 40% discounts, but other collections such as Ellipse at discounts up to 80%.

The luxury pre-owned market is growing. Whether brands like it or not, the channel will play a role in purchase consideration – whether for reselling or purchasing. Consumers will look toward the platform to understand the brand power they can expect, and retention value will become a key metric for success at a product level moving forward. Start. Tracking. Today.

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