June watch sales in the US saw their biggest drop in the last seven years according to figures from NPD Group, being reported by Bloomberg.
The market research company cites the release of the Apple Watch as one possible reason. Watch sales in the US were worth US $375m (£240.9m) in the month of June, down 11% in value on June 2014, according to NPD Group. The fall also represented a 14% drop in volume, the largest decline in unit sales since 2008.
Fred Levine, head of the market researcher’s luxury division, spoke to Bloomberg, saying: “The Apple Watch is going to gain a significant amount of penetration. The first couple of years will be difficult for watches in fashion categories.”
Levin stated that US watch sales in the sub US $1,000 category are most at risk from the Apple Watch. The biggest decline in June was for watches costing between $100 and $149 (£64-£96), of 24%.
Levin also cited market saturation and subsequent discounting by US retailers and department stores as reasons for a fall in sales. The majority of the products failing to sell in the US are likely to have been produced in Asia because exports of Swiss watches to the US show a 4.2% increase in the first half of 2015 according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH).
NPD’s US data tracks sales of around 70 brands through department stores, national chains and independent jewellers. It does not take into account brand-owned boutiques, supermarket chains or online retailers.