An array of modern watches in a shop display. Photo by shutterstock/Dimitri Ma
Mobile World, the electronics retail chain of leading retail conglomerate Mobile World Investment Corporation (MWG), has announced that it will be selling a series of genuine watches that cost under VND10 million ($431.82) each.
These products will not form a new retail chain, but will be added to the existing electronics repertoire of Mobile World, and initially sold online, primarily.
Mobile World is not the first entrant to this market. Major jewelry retailers Phu Nhuan Jewelry JSC (PNJ) and DOJI Gold and Silver Group (DOJI) have already been trying to cater to the demand for genuine watches.
Although it has piloted watches in its jewelry retail mix since 2012, PNJ only gives its watch business a real push from the beginning of this year. The company has since established 20 outlets called PNJ Watch, concentrated mainly in Hanoi and HCM City.
DOJI is a newer entrant, having started test-selling watches in late 2018, but is primarily focused on the low-cost segment of under VND10 million ($431.80).
According to an analyst with financial firm Viet Dragon Securities Company (VDSC), the watch market in Vietnam is worth around VND17 trillion ($734.09 million), but is highly fragmented with little transparency on product origin.
"In Vietnam, there are only a few authorized retail stores and warranty centers for watches. Great demand with limited supply leads to fake products being rampant in the market. This is a long-term problem in the watch industry," the VDSC analyst said.
However, he also warned that although the market is lucrative, entrants may find this segment "hard to chew".
"Although demand is large, not everyone wants genuine watches whose prices are significantly higher than what Vietnamese consumers are willing to pay," the VDSC expert explained.
Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said at a recent conference that while Vietnam’s GDP per capita had surged by 27.4 times in the last 30 years to almost $2,590 last year, Malaysia had achieved this figure 20 years ago.