“Consumers are looking for an experience, online or offline”


October 2017

“Consumers are looking for an experience, online or offline”

“The Portuguese market still outperforms the global current trend."


ased on FH (Swiss Watch Federation) statistics, Portugal ranked 21st in the first five months of 2017, with a 10.6% increase compared to 2016, and an even more significant increase of 8.2% vs 2015, when the overall trend was a 10.2% decrease. Our company clearly led this trend in 2016: we successfully managed to increase our sales and margins. Two major factors explain these excellent results: international tourism is clearly discovering our small, outlying country.

Moreover, our 2014 investment in a 650 m2 store in Lisbon’s premier luxury location, Avenida da Liberdade, definitely improved our market share. This year we have opened a new shop in downtown Cascais, just a few steps from the marina of this beautiful port. We believe we have to present our national and international customers with the broadest range of pieces, including exclusive and rare watches.

In the last 10 years we have witnessed drastic changes in the buying process, motivated by the behaviour of today’s new consumers. Thus, we cannot view e-commerce as a threat but rather as a challenge, and one more channel and opportunity to sell. We consider online retail a crucial selling channel, which can and should coexist side by side with the traditional buying process. And we are on the verge of finalising a new digital site with an e-commerce service for our customers.

“Consumers are looking for an experience, online or offline”

This digital service will enhance the quality of our sales. It is not hard to forecast an increase in sales outside our traditional stores, which need to change to reflect the new reality. Consumers are looking for more than buying in the broad sense; they are looking for an experience. When abdicating the experience itself, they choose to buy online. So stores have to adapt to this new reality and be open to new ideas, initiatives intended to capitalise, not only on digital consumers, but also on current and potential new clients. As “uberisation” is replacing human capital with a system that begins and ends in an application, retailers are treading a fine line between adding value and competing with their customers by offering more value services to stay relevant in today’s changing marketplace.

However, for luxury brands, any change to the business model has to be supported by a consistent plan. This is a market associated with history, guarantees of quality, exclusivity and personalised contact with the client, which is incompatible with some aspects of digital retail. In this sense, it brings as many challenges as opportunities.

Membership is a must, but direct and online sales strategies should ensure that the customer continues to enjoy a differentiated shopping experience. In the end, currently the majority of customers who buy luxury goods, in this case fine watchmaking or jewellery, continue to appreciate the importance of touching, trying and receiving advice.”


“We believe smartwatches are a peaceful revolution. Proof of this is that, if we go back in history, we can see that ‘smart watchmakers’ were already around more than 70 years ago, precursors of what we know as smartwatches today. Back then, we felt no significant danger that would justify radical behaviour changes. Of course, the traditional watch industry has always maintained a certain resistance to this type of product. Nevertheless, in 2015 they realised that they had to give in and adapt to this new technology. Opinions among specialists were divided. Some believed that the partnership between watchmaking and technology companies could not work, and that mechanical watches would never lose their glamour. Others expressed the more extreme view that the history of fine watchmaking could be coming to an end.
But smartwatches are here to stay, and the smartest way to tackle this new market is to join it. It was precisely the solution embraced by some of the great names in watchmaking, such as TAG Heuer, perhaps because this type of product targets a different consumer from those traditionally interested in fine watchmaking. Nevertheless, we now realise that products endorsed by the great watchmaking companies can live side by side with traditional mechanical watches.”


Name: Torres Joalheiros
Boutiques: Seven points of sale in Lisbon and Cascais
Launch date: 1910
Category: High and middle-range
Brands represented: Rolex, A. Lange & Söhne, Chanel, Chaumet, Chopard, Corum, Cvstos, Eternis, Franck Muller, F.P. Journe, Girard-Perregaux, Graham, Jaeger- LeCoultre, Louis Moinet, Messika, Mimi, Mikimoto, Monseo, Montblanc, Oris, Porsche Design, Raymond Weil, Serafino Consoli, Suunto, TAG Heuer, Torres, Tudor, Versace