Watch sales slowdown extends into September


Annualised sales of wrist watches remain positive in the year to September 2019, but value growth in this period has fallen to +1.2%, a significant slow down from the heady heights the market reached at varies times over the previous two years, writes Paul Mitchell, senior client insight director at GfK.

This longer term growth is maintained by strong sales in 2018 which continued into the early months of 2019. The year to date (Jan-Sep 19) growth rate is +1.0% compared to the same months in 2018, but 4 out of 5 of the most recent months recorded sales declines against the same month in 2018.


September saw the highest rate of decline since before the EU referendum; sales were down -3.8% in value against September 2018.

Volume declines continued as they have done for the past few years, falling by -8.9% in September, slightly below the -9.2% rate recorded over the previous 12 months.

The slowdown is hitting London harder than the rest of the country.



Value sales in the capital have been negative over the year (-2.1%) and fell heavily in September (-10.1%), whilst the rest of the country saw growth of +5.3% in the year and +3.0% in September.

Growth over the past few years has been driven by the luxury market, with the mass market being in decline over a longer term.

This growth at higher prices is now shifting to a negative. Over the year to September sales over £1,000 are strong, growing at +7.3%, but this changed in September, when the high-end market entered negative territory with sales falling -1.4% against September 2018.



This decline in the high-end market was still a stronger performance than at lower price points. Sales between £100-£500 continue to be very challenging, falling -19.9% in September and ending the 12 month period down -15.6% against the previous year.

Some growth was found in September within the £500-£1,000 price band, which was up +1.6% against September 2019, though annualised sales for this section of the market were down -11.4%.


Prepared by: Paul Mitchell, Senior Client Insight Director

paul.mitchell@gfk.com / +44 207 890 9045

www.gfk.com/uk / www.twitter.com/gfk


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