U.S. is falling back in love with Swiss watches
Sales of Swiss watches have slumped in the U.S. for the last three years – but that’s finally changing. In great news for the industry, market research company NDP Group said that sales of the luxury timepieces “jumped substantially” in the first half of 2018. What’s particularly important about this revelation is that the U.S. remains Switzerland’s second-largest export market – meaning that a reversal in the country will have far-reaching impact.
Reg Brack, NDP’s watches and luxury industry analyst, said: “we’re reporting that U.S. sales for watches above $1,000 are up 13.5% in value year to date.” This is meaningful because watches in-and-above that price range are dominated by the Swiss watch industry. And the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry agrees, saying that exports to the U.S. jumped by 9.1% over the period.
Perhaps most importantly, though, the NDP data implies something significant: that Swiss watches are not just selling to shops, but also to consumers. On other words, Brack says: “we see a genuine recovery.”
Interestingly, while lower-value timepieces ($1,000 to $5,000) are leading the way globally, in the U.S., the Swiss watch recovery has skewed towards a higher range. Here, watches of $5,000 and up accounted for half of the entire U.S. watch market in value. They saw growth of 14% against the same period in the previous year – and the above $10,000 segment saw an increase of 16%.
Last, but certainly not least, the U.S. market is rejuvenating across gender boundaries. Brack said: "Another good sign: we are seeing a recovery within the female segment for the first time in three-plus years. Masculine brands, like Tudor and TAG Heuer, are using female brand ambassadors. Tudor has done it with Lady Gaga. Possibly that strategy is working and women are focusing on some of the women's models of those brands."
Dominion holds a number of companies that operate in the Swiss watch indsutry, such as Richemont and LVMH, in its Global Trends Luxury Fund.
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