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LUXURY GOODS

Gen Zeders and Millennials are redefining the luxury watch market

By our News Team | 2023

These consumers still desire a luxury timepiece, but are driving a growing second-hand market because they see it as ‘more sustainable’.

The demand for luxury watches is booming around the world. This time, though, the centuries-old market is undergoing significant change that is partly being driven by the expectations of Millennial and newly wealthy Gen Z consumers.

This younger cohort of buyers is – perhaps surprisingly, given their often-stated sustainability credentials and views against over-consumption – still keen to buy expensive high-end watches from the likes of Rolex, Breitling, Cartier and others. But they want them to be second-hand, in a nod to those concerns.

Luxury Goods

Photo by Y. Leclercq via Wikimedia Commons

Going this ‘pre-loved’ route is a notable change for the luxury watch market, whose top brands have typically viewed second-hand buyers with suspicion because of an association with discounted, grey-market products.

“We cannot continue to consume the way we used to, especially luxury goods, because as an industry that expresses intrinsic values of timelessness, repairability [and] quality, it really should be a leader in this field,” said Fabienne Lupo, an authority on the luxury watch industry and recently the founder of ReLuxury, an event specialising in what she calls the ‘re-commerce’ of luxury and collectible objects.

We need to rethink the way we consume luxury goods

“I hope that it will make it simpler for people to understand that buying second-hand is actually being responsible, and a smarter solution for businesses,” Lupo told the website Luxury Society in an interview. “I really want to change the perspective on that and help them realise that we need to rethink the way we consume luxury goods.”

She emphasised that the craze for second-hand watches could be explained by the consumer choices of Millennials and Generation Z who are “very concerned about the future of the planet, and no longer want to buy new”.

According to a recent study by Deloitte, the global second-hand watch market is currently estimated to be worth US$21.7-billion and could reach $32-billion by 2030.

“Watch manufacturers typically have been worried about the secondary market as it was closely associated with the grey market, where discounted watches could be found,” Jon Cox, an industry analyst with the Kepler Cheuvreux financial services company, said in an interview with news agency AFP.

“However, they realise there is a halo effect of having strong secondary prices, enhancing the brand value of the primary watches.”

Cox added that second-hand watches were a “store of wealth”, being “worn and shown off for years but still retaining value to be resold so another watch can be bought in its place”.

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.