I finally pulled the trigger a few weeks ago and downloaded the StockX app onto my phone. Seems I’m not the only one.
What started as a website marketplace for sneakers has recently expanded into other luxury luxury goods with passionate fan or collector bases, namely handbags, and of course, watches. Carving out a niche within the traditional domain of eBay isn’t a new business strategy, but StockX has executed well and expanded rapidly because of it.
Estimates put the pre-owned watch market at $5 billion, though it’s hard to calculate with the disparate marketplaces, websites, auctions and private sales made in all corners of the internet. The pre-owned sneaker market, where StockX first gained foothold (Pun intended; no shame here), is estimated at a paltry-in-comparison $1 billion, though it’s growing at a rapid clip just as the secondary watch market is.
To compete in the secondary watch market, StockX will have to compete with established players such as Torneau and Chrono24, in addition to the big brands themselves, who are increasingly recognizing the big dollars at stake. Just this year, Richemont, whose brands include Vacheron Constantin, IWC among others, acquired pre-owned watch seller Watchfinder.
The Wall Street Journal recently dropped a profile of StockX and its founder, Josh Luber. With investment and support from Dan Gilbert, StockX has expanded to over 500 employees worldwide. While the article focuses on StockX’s sneaker credentials, it provides a road map for how StockX (or another company) may conquer the pre-owned watch space. Here’s the insightful passage:
StockX only accepts new merchandise and employs over 100 authenticators to identify counterfeits. “When we started the business three years ago, we couldn’t go to LinkedIn and find sneaker authenticators,” said Mr. Luber. “We basically created that career.” It takes about 90 days to train authenticators who use scales, durometers (to measure density) and apps to spot fakes.
In other words, authenticity is king. For the full article, click here.