The British watch market continued to outperform the wider retail sector in August, with growth in the value of all watch sales rising by 11%.
The British Retail Consortium, working with consultancy KPMG, said like-for-like sales rose by just 1.3% in August across all of retail.
The pace of growth for watch sales had been slowing since an annual rise of 25% in April; dropping to 5.5% in July before rising again last month, according to point of sale data collected by retail analyst GfK.
It was expected that growth in the value of sales for luxury watches would dip this summer because GfK is now comparing sales to the months after Brexit in 2016 when the plunging value of the pound caused a spike in sales for watches priced above £1000.
That has not happened. The value of sales for watches priced at over £1000 has continued to rise at a healthy 21.2% in August.
For the first eight months of 2017, sales of watches priced at over £1000 are up 26.2%. The bottom of the market continues to suffer, with the value of sales for watches priced at under £500 falling by 10%.
Luxury watch brands have increased prices, in some cases on several occasions, since Brexit in an effort to minimise price differences between different countries.
This has contributed to the average selling price rising by 26.6% over the past 12 months. So, while the number of watches sold has fallen by 12.3% in August, the total value is up by 11%.
Customers are also buying increasingly expensive models. Helen Merchant, chief merchant at Harrods, told WatchPro last month that the store’s Fine Watch Room has experienced a significant increase in high value sales, especially on pieces over £200,000.
Growth in London is once again higher than the rest of Great Britain, with the value of sales up 16% in August compared to 6.7% outside the capitol.