The number of watches sold in the UK has been falling incrementally for the past four years, but the value of sales has been soaring, delegates at a London Watch Show seminar learned today.
Jonathan Hedges, head of retail data specialist GfK, said that the price of watches selling in the UK has been rising steadily, particularly in the sub-£500 fashion watch category, comfortably offsetting the slight drop in the volume of units sold.
“The average watch purchase price has increased 46% since 2010,” Hedges told a packed seminar at the London Watch Show.
The biggest names in fashion that have added watches to their line ups are having a profound effect on the UK retail landscape. Hedges refused to name brands, but it is clear that brands like Michael Kors are increasing sales faster than watch brands without the pulling power of a major fashion label behind them. “If you want to grow volumes in the sub-£500 space, sell fashion watch brands,” he said.
The power of fashion labels is particularly powerful today because female shoppers are accounting for a greater and greater share of the market. “Ladies watches now move higher volumes than men in the sub-£500 watch category,” he revealed.