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Oct 14, 2022
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Second-hand watch market could be worth CHF35 billion by 2030, says Deloitte

Translated by
Nicola Mira
Oct 14, 2022

The second-hand watch market, growing steadily thanks to Millennial and Gen Z consumers, could be worth CHF35 billion (€36 billion) by 2030, according to a study by consulting firm Deloitte published on Thursday.

Screenshot of the Hodinkee website - Hodinkee

The second-hand watch market’s value is said to be currently in the region of CHF20 billion, and by 2030 it could be worth more than half of the market for new watches, according to Deloitte’s study on the outlook for Swiss watchmaking.

“The second-hand market's growth potential is huge,” said Karine Szegedi, in charge of the consumer, fashion and luxury sectors at Deloitte Switzerland, quoted in a press release.

The main reasons for buying used watches are the fact that their prices are lower than those of new ones, but also a desire to find models that are no longer being manufactured. Longer and longer waiting lists for new models at the most popular brands, like Rolex and Patek Philippe, are also pushing consumers to consider older models.

The second-hand market, previously the preserve of collectors and auction houses, is now of great interest to a new generation of consumers, as websites selling certified watches are booming.

Among Millennials (people born between 1980 and the end of the 1990s), 48% of watch enthusiasts said they are likely to buy a pre-owned model in the next twelve months.

According to the Deloitte study, the share among Gen Z consumers (born between 1997 and 2012) drops to 37%, and to 12% among Baby boomers. The study was carried out online with 5,579 people in Switzerland and the 10 major export countries for Swiss watches.

“Our consumers are so different from those we regard as classic watch buyers,” said Ben Clymer, founder of the Hodinkee website, quoted in the study.

“They are much younger, they buy and sell watches much more frequently, they are interested in pre-owned watches” and are on the lookout for assets “that retain or gain value,” he added.

Manufacturers of luxury watches too are eyeing this growth trend favourably. Of the watch industry executives interviewed for the study, 70% said that second-hand watches have a positive impact on their brands’ reputation.

According to the study, the pre-owned market’s growth will be fuelled by brands that either partner with established sites selling certified models, or launch their own e-tail channels to corner part of the market.

In 2018, Richemont, the giant luxury group that owns Cartier, Piaget, IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre, entered the second-hand market by buying British site watchfinder.co.uk.


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