Patek Philippe was founded in 1839 in Geneva and is one of the oldest watch manufacturers in the world. A household name for the ultra-luxury market, it had only previously been available to purchase at one of its bespoke boutiques or selective partners in the most selective corners and retail havens. However, with the current coronavirus pandemic changing the fashion landscape as we know it, it has thrusted retailers into re-thinking their business strategy and turning to the digital world.
The Geneva-based watch brand, having honoured government guidelines and adapted to the unique climate in which consumer behaviour has shifted, will now see online sales as their go-to market, closing their retail avenues and inviting their clients to shop online for their luxury timepieces for the very first time.
Although this has been described as a ‘temporary period’, it seems the brand has no long term brands to revert from store purchasing, due to the physical intimacy that comes alongside buying a luxury timepiece. However, the shift does mark a new era in retail activity and digital strategy across a ultra-luxury sector in bid to survive. The luxury sectors ability to withstand the shock and inevitable rebound amidst the current economic crisis, it seems new ways of retail operation are an inevitable factor in the shift toward socially-distant buying.
With Patek Philippe pioneering the ‘new norm’ and policies surrounding online sales lifting, it seems that digital natives and new emerging demographics could benefit from less traditional modes of buying.
As the industry moves into unstable and unprecedented times, it seems now digital is more vital than ever.