Audemars Piguet Tests E-Commerce In China With A Pop-Up Boutique on JD.com

By rolex
June 13, 2021
3 min read

It is no secret that the future of retail is online. This goes for most consumer merchandise yet this has additionally started to affect the extravagance world, which includes watches. After several Richemont brands entering e-commerce together with Net-a-Porter and Mister Porter (think IWC later followed by other members of the Group), it’s now time for Audemars Piguet to begin testing such retail processes, yet in a non-conservative and unprecedented manner, as the very good quality watchmaker has quite recently started to test E-Commerce in China with a pop-up boutique on JD.com.

While the European and American markets are still rather conservative in the manner watches are offered to clients, who actually rely on actual retail location, the Chinese market has demonstrated to be significantly more mature when it comes to online shopping, principally due to the innovative soul of two e-commerce monsters: Alibaba and JD.com. Both have recently launched extravagance gateways – Luxury Pavillon for Alibaba and TopLife for JD.com – on which most extravagance products can be purchased, through  WeChat e-stores. What’s more, if this may sound inconceivable in Europe or in America, this is the means by which Chinese consumers are currently doing.

Audemars Piguet and its up-to-date CEO François-Henry Bannahmias felt that a chance was opening here. This is the reason the Le Brassus-based brand, otherwise not shy of relying on practices for its communication, has decided to announce the opening of its first online pop-up boutique in partnership with JD.com. If Audemars Piguet states that this partnership is a perfect combination of simple “Swiss Made” and computerized “Chinese Speed”, this is likewise a route for the brand to access to one of the largest markets on the planet, where vicinity with an actual retail location can be problematic, notwithstanding the well established reality that the Chinese middle class are increasingly shopping online.

According to the brand, which is going to hit the critical 1-Billion Swiss Francs barrier in turnover, the Chinese market is becoming faster than any time in recent memory – confirmed by the exports to China, which rose 18.8 percent a year ago, as per the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (and development this year is expected to be even faster).

Several models of Audemars Piguet’s collection, going from CNY 149,000 (USD 24,000) to CNY 463,000 (USD 74,000) – including the Kakhi ROO Diver, the ladies’ ROO Chronograph, the Yellow Gold RO Chronograph or the RO Quartz with jewel bezel – are offered to consumers through the Swiss brand’s e-store on China’s WeChat web-based media stage – a specific extravagance service, which includes the shortest possible delivery time with personal couriers.

The first client to order online has just received his watch directly from the hands of François-Henry Bennahmias, CEO of Audemars Piguet, and Richard Liu, founder of JD.com. Later sales will be handled directly through a pop-up store under WeChat and by China’s largest e-commerce stage JD.com.