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How hard luxury embraced a Chinese digital future

In China, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Ultra Thin Moon watches sell from RMB 77,000 to 205,000 ($11,809 to $31,440). During 2020’s Singles Day (11 November), one customer on Tmall Luxury Pavilion bought two of them, spending RMB 330,000 ($50,600) in a single online transaction.

Until recently, hard luxury brands did not focus much on high-ticket purchases through e-commerce. Besides consumers’ reluctance to spend lavishly online, brands were concerned about damaging brand equity and exclusivity.

In China, however, online has become just another sales channel in a market with sales of nearly $10 billion for luxury jewellery and watches in 2020. “Chinese consumers, especially Gen Z, are very comfortable purchasing luxury jewellery and watches online,” says Rocky Chi, head of planning at Emerging Communications.

Before Covid-19, Chinese consumers typically purchased hard luxury abroad. The in-store visit was part of their travelling experience. Digital strategies were useful as an additional tool to connect with them. Following the onset of the pandemic, brands had to quickly adapt to a new reality, focused on the local market, pushing digital strategies to the forefront.


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