Among Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing consumer markets, Vietnam offers favorable conditions for the development of the luxury goods landscape. Big brands of luxury jewelry and watches have recently started to flock to Vietnam taking advantage of the rapid urbanization and economic growth in the country. Pandora Group, for example, is planning to set up a factory in Vietnam and expects to manufacture 60 million pieces of jewelry annually. Moreover, Statista estimates the Vietnamese luxury goods market will be worth USD 1.14 billion by 2021 and grow 7.17% annually through 2025.
Want to start selling watches and jewelry in Vietnam? We provide comprehensive Product Registration Services for enterprises of all sizes!
With pandemic restrictions being eased in several countries, international household names are mulling the decision to resume their business in Vietnam. For instance, Italian brand Bvlgari resumed its operations in the country and launched its first store in Ho Chi Minh City in 2021.
Market size & revenue of Luxury Watches & Jewelry
Despite the pandemic, the jewelry business remained stable. While people couldn’t travel, they spent their money on gifts and accessories. Despite lockdowns, jewelry designers and brands have proven remarkably resilient. The use of digital technology became prevalent: it became the medium to share new designs with customers and resolve any complaints/queries.
As per Statista Market Forecasts, Luxury Watches & Jewelry will generate USD 135.40 million in revenue in 2022. During the period 2022-2027, the market is expected to grow by 2.79% annually.
Recent trends in the Vietnamese Luxury Goods Market
The Vietnamese jewelry market is largely traditional both in fabrication and design. Consumers appreciate classic designs set with diamonds or jade. Vietnamese jewelry is often sold at a wide range of prices by distributors and importers.
The most prominent challenge with the luxury industry is that import taxes are high (more on that in section 4). On top of that, foreign brands only import a minimum amount of goods at a time, which is perceived as risky by importing agents. Some other challenges encountered in this market are as follows:
- It is difficult for classic mechanical watches to catch on since there aren’t many watch collectors.
- Purchasing criteria are based on the products’ price and design.
- Pens are often the more common choice as a high-end gift.
- Most consumers do not customize their products.
According to a report by the National Economics University of Vietnam in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the lack of suppliers and high operating costs were said to be the biggest obstacles to setting up shop in Vietnam in the early 2000s. However, with continuous infrastructure improvement, costs have dropped significantly.
With an estimated GDP per capita of USD 3,000, the middle class in Vietnam has been growing rapidly, indicating the domestic market is rich in potential. There has been a huge increase in the purchase of luxury items by Vietnamese in recent years. There are many luxury brands available in the country now, so Vietnamese with high incomes no longer have to travel to Singapore, Europe, or the United States to buy luxury goods. Major brands like Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior are expected to open their outlets in Hanoi, and many are already present in Ho Chi Minh City.
Key players in the market
Rolex is a Swiss company that specializes in extremely high-end watches. It currently has two stores in Hanoi and one store in Ho Chi Minh City. With pieces like the GMT-Master, Daytona, and Submariner, Rolex has become an industry icon.
Founded in 1988 by South African businessman Johann Rupert, Richemont is a Switzerland-based luxury goods holding company. Richemont produces and sells jewelry, leather goods, pens, watches, clothing, accessories, and even firearms through its subsidiaries.
Market cap-wise, Richemont ranks sixth among Swiss companies in the Swiss Market Index. In the world of luxury goods, it ranks third behind LVMH and Estée Lauder.
The Watches & Jewelry Houses of LVMH are one of the most dynamic brands on the market. They specialize in high-quality watchmaking on the one hand and jewelry and high-end jewelry on the other. The houses continually surprise and delight their customers with their bold creativity and perfectly mastered savoir-faire.
Chow Tai Fook
Founded in 1929, the Group’s iconic brand, CHOW TAI FOOK, is renowned for its product design, quality and value, as well as its reliability and authenticity. Long-term dedication to innovation and craftsmanship has contributed to the group’s success, along with that of its iconic retail brand, and has been embodied in its rich heritage.
By catering to the lifestyles and personalities of different generations of customers, the group continues to expand into diverse market segments.
Swiss watch and jewelry manufacturer Swatch Group Ltd was founded in 1886. There are about 36,000 people working for the Swatch Group in 50 countries, making it the world’s largest watchmaker. Swatch currently has two stores in Ho Chi Minh City.
Current Market Challenges
1. Market for counterfeit goods
Quite a large number of counterfeit products are illegally produced and distributed in Vietnam, usually from China. Authentic products are also illegally imported and then sold in stores that don’t have licenses from brands.
Vietnamese authorities have already begun to realize the necessity of banning the distribution and manufacturing of counterfeit luxury goods, but measures are yet to be effective. During the negotiations for Vietnam’s access to the World Trade Organization, the Civil Code of 1995 included articles about the protection of intellectual property in Vietnam. The counterfeit problem in Vietnam is not as severe as in neighboring countries such as China or Thailand, yet it can threaten the growth of the luxury market.
2. High taxes and tariffs result in uncompetitive prices
The pricing structure of imported products generally incorporates the following elements:
- Fees charged by import agents (typically 1 to 2% of the invoice)
- Customs duty based on product type
- The landed cost of goods is subject to VAT in the range of 10 to 15% when the title is transferred
- Tax on luxury/consumption items (particularly automobiles, beer, and alcoholic beverages)
Taxes on imports, value-added tax (VAT), luxury taxes, customs service fees, and delivery delays can quickly eliminate margins or force the supply chain to raise prices. Wholesalers, dealers, and vendors all participate in a fragmented distribution system with markups at each level.
The prices of distributors and wholesalers fluctuate randomly and frequently, yet consumers’ perception of products is largely determined by their price. This makes Vietnam an unstable market in need of effective regulations for luxury goods.
The rising middle class with more and more disposable income is very likely to increase the spending power of the Vietnamese population as a whole. Once the user base develops an interest in extravagant products, luxury watches and jewelry, in particular, will become a mainstay of their lives. Even though the market for luxury goods is in its early stages, Vietnam has set the stage for foreign luxury brands to leverage untapped opportunities available in the country.