The overall value of watch sales in the UK rose by 13.3% in November, half the growth rate of the previous month, according to the latest GfK Retail Sales Report.
The accumulation of record monthly sales values since the start of the summer meant that growth for the year-to-date (January-November) accelerated slightly from 9.9% last month to 10.3%.
“The growth rates hint at the underlying complexities in the watch market in November,” says Gilly Netherwood, senior account manager at GfK.
Online watch sales surged in value by 18.6% in November, with the volume of units sold also up by 16.9%. Great news for Britain’s e-tailers, but GfK thinks some of this growth may have come at the expense of the high street.
“It goes without saying that online is a big driver of retail sales in November, so it will come a little surprise to see online value up 18.6% for traditional watches on November 2015, and while the watch market as a whole continued to see volume fall, online sales were up again, 16.9% on November 2015, taking volume away from the high street,” suggests Ms Netherwood.
Luxury watches were still by far the strongest performers, with the value of watches priced at over £1000 rising 30% in November, compared to the same month in 2015.
“After incredibly strong October sales for mid and high end luxury, this segment of the market was expected to slow in November. However, contrary to expectations, watches over £1,000 grew 30% in value versus November 2015. Gents’ watches were driving growth, up 16.7% in value, but ladies’ watches also saw growth of 7.5% on November 2015,” Ms Netherwood explains.
The sub-£500 price point was still under pressure with sales values in November little changed from the same month a year ago.