(Yicai Global) April 16 -- Montblanc and Piaget, two major luxury watch brands under Switzerland-based Compagnie Financière Richemont, one of the world's largest luxury goods groups, yesterday announced the opening of their flagship stores on Chinese tech titan Alibaba Group Holding’s Tmall e-commerce platform, in step with the many other deluxe brands that are shifting from a sales model that relies heavily on offline retail stores to developing online sales channels amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jewelry brand Bvlgari announced on April 14 it will open a Tmall flagship store next month. Since the middle to late last month, Italian high-end brands Prada, Miu Miu, Giorgio Armani and New York Chinese designer brand Alexander Wang have announced the setup of Tmall venues.
Chanel's late design director Karl Lagerfeld’s brand of the same name, Japanese fashion label Bape, Italian bag brand Rabeanco, Australian luxury label Zimmermann, US bag brand Kate Spade, Japanese jewelry brand Gala, and the French Kenzo and Nekomomo have all landed in the e-mall recently.
The platform formerly found attracting upmarket businesses extremely difficult, said Jessica Liu, general manager of Tmall’s apparel section. At least half of the brands she visited around the world never considered e-commerce channels from 2016 to 2017. Though Tmall introduced the Luxury Pavilion channel later, it still lacks merchants in the high-end watchmaking and jewelry category with the highest unit prices. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated luxury brands' embrace of e-commerce, which has been a boon for Tmall's investment promotion.
More than 150 deluxe brands have opened Tmall flagship stores, according to platform data. Its sales jumped 140 percent on the first day of the promotion campaign for International Women’s Day on March 8.
The swanky sector is suffering greatly from the pandemic. It is expected that the deluxe market will shrink by 15 percent to 35 percent this year, with annual losses of EUR60 billion (USD65.3 billion) to EUR70 billion, US management consulting firm Bain & Company said in its latest luxury research report.
Editor: Ben Armour