‘COVID-19 SPED UP EXISTING TRENDS IN THE MARKET'
Forbes India|March 12, 2021
Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of the Bvlgari Group, on the impact of the pandemic on the luxury sector
JASODHARA BANERJEE

Q How did it feel to host this year’s Lvmh Watch Week on a virtual platform in January, and how was the response?

We had experienced the virtual aspect last year with leading watchmaking events, such as the Dubai one and the Geneva Watch Days, which was physical for those who could travel to Switzerland, and digital for everyone else. They were successful because, thanks to high-definition video, a film about the product is often better than seeing the product with your eyes. I proposed we should do a completely digital event this January, as Covid-19 was making a comeback in Europe. We didn’t have the glamour of Dubai’s Bvlgari hotel and swapped glamour for craftsmanship by opening the doors of our manufacturers, which is a fascinating experience.

Q Have digital platforms enabled you to reach a wider audience compared to physical events?

What digital does is complementary in nature, and does not replace physical events. Bvlgari’s communication is about 60 per cent digital, but 40 per cent is still traditional— such as our presence at airports.

Through digital platforms like Facebook and Instagram, you can convey more messages more frequently, and you can also target younger generations who are reading less and less of print. Digital platforms help open up the brand to these clients. These platforms are also interactive and help us feel the pulse of our followers. This is important because, in market research, people are not as spontaneous as they are on social media. Digital platforms are also a strong driver for eCommerce. Clicking on a link lets people know more about a watch or a bag, and helps convince them about the product.

Q A lot of sectors have faced the effects of the pandemic and the lockdowns. how has the luxury sector been affected?

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