Luxury watch sales take off on eBay – FHH Journal
Everyone thought it would be Amazon; instead, eBay has beaten expectations by becoming one of the largest markets for used luxury watches. And the numbers are impressive. A watch sells on eBay every five seconds from an average of 150,000 listings per day. The platform moved more than 2 million timepieces in 2019 and nearly 8 million in the past three years. Knowing that the e-commerce giant generated an operating margin of 21.5% on a turnover of 10.8 billion dollars in 2019, the turnover of watches can be estimated at nearly one billion . This is part of the group’s efforts to develop its luxury business. “EBay offers one of the world’s largest selections of luxury goods, from rare and designer handbags to exquisite wristwatches, and the value and selection available to buyers cannot be found anywhere else,” comments Sam Bright, vice president and director of eBay Verticals, in an interview with Luxury Society.
Topping watch sales on eBay in 2019 is a $ 535,500 Patek Philippe Grande Complication.
Now an established player in the secondary watch market, which eBay estimates at $ 5 billion, the platform is able to publish its own 2020 luxury watch report. Aimed at the general public, the report lists the main trends of the platform in terms of styles, brands and models. Topping the list is Rolex, the most demanded brand accounting for 25% of its sales, followed by Omega, Breitling, TAG Heuer and Patek Philippe. The five trends to watch, according to eBay, are Rolex sports watches, vintage styles, rose gold, colored dials like emerald green and salmon, and the growing demand for new materials and original case constructions. When it comes to breadth, with thousands of listings the choice goes way beyond entry level. The highest prices last year were for a Patek Philippe Grande Complication which sold for $ 535,500, followed by a Richard Mille RM-11 Flyback Chronograph in rose gold and titanium ($ 148,000) and ‘an Audemars Piguet Millenary MC 12 Tourbillon in platinum ($ 145,000).
An authentication program
Six-figure transactions like these require buyer’s trust – a thorn in the side of online marketplaces that are regularly accused of letting fakes sneak onto the net. In addition to a money back guarantee, eBay offers several levels of protection, as Sam Bright explains. “We know our community wants an extra layer of trust when shopping in these categories, and to further establish eBay as a trusted shopping destination, we’ve introduced eBay Authenticate. The program ensures that buyers of luxury items on eBay are verified by third-party authentication experts and come from selected and top-rated eBay sellers. This is not the first measure the market has introduced to eliminate counterfeits. Established in 1998, the Verified Rights Owner program works with 40,000 companies and industry groups to enable rights holders to report possible intellectual property violations which eBay then investigates. Authentication also extends to sellers, 39% of whom are individuals while the remaining 61% are businesses varying in size from large retailers, like Govberg Jewelers and BeckerTime, to smaller sellers such as Luxury Bazaar.
Confidence is the key to success.
As eBay explains, with two times the conversion on authenticated inventory compared to similar unauthenticated inventory, trust and taking steps to earn buyers’ trust is key to success. Much of that success is expected to come from female buyer transactions: last year, sales of Cartier women’s watches rose 22%, Rolex 11% and TAG Heuer 6%.