UK watch sales volumes drop 13% in Q1 2012

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Watch sales volumes in the UK dropped 13% in the first quarter of 2012, according to new data released by retail analyst GfK.

Overall the watch market in the UK only increased in value by 0.6% in Q1 and GfK watches and jewellery global product manager Jonathan Hedges said that the continued decline in volume sales is hampering the industry’s ability to achieve the value growth figures experienced last year despite an increase in average sale price of 15.7% in Q1 2012.

The GfK report stated that the top end of the market – watches priced at £1,000 and above – declined in volume with a dip of 2.3% but average sales prices increased 10.9% delivering sector growth of 8.3% in Q1.

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Hedges said that this positive trait could be bolstered further over summer with the upcoming influx of tourist spend related to the Olympics. He said: “With the influx of high-end luxury retailers in London and the expected high visitor traffic during the Olympics later this year, there could be even greater growth for this segment still to come.”

The middle market – watches priced between £500 and £800 – continued to struggle in Q1 according to GfK, showing a drop of 20% in value and volume against average selling prices up just 1.7%.

At the lower end of the market – watches priced at less than £500 – GfK said that volumes fell 13.1% but values dropped just 5%.

Hedges said: “It would appear that the already challenging mid-luxury market is being further ignored by the consumer in favour of high-end luxury Swiss brands. As well as this, the lower entry fashion/traditional watch brands are out-performing the mid-luxury market, which further polarises this segment.”

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