Everyone knows Sekonda and its spin-off brands for being pre-eminent on the UK high street, selling watches in truly impressive quantities. Indeed, Sekonda itself has been the best-selling watch brand in the UK for the last 28 consecutive years, which tells its own story.
What may be less well known to people is just how much traction Time Products’ brands have in the travel retail industry. From not even being a player of any note before the early 1990s, Sekonda is now the fastest-growing watch brand in the travel industry with over 150 locations in over 50 countries. So, from its humble beginnings in the world of travel retail, how has Sekonda come to be the force that it is today?
To answer this, we have to take the story back to its origins in the early 1990s, when Sekonda launched with Alpha. Alpha Airport Shopping has had a presence in airports in the United Kingdom in different guises since the very early days of airport retailing in 1955, so for Sekonda to launch with them quite literally opened a number of doors for the brand.
In the mid ’90s, Sekonda made the key decision to introduce its self-select display stands into its travel retail operation. These innovative, purpose-built SKUs each have a capacity of 184 watches, and act almost like a vending machine, but for watches rather than confectionary. With clear labels, accessible packaging and an easy-to-read display, these self-select stands became an instant hit wherever they popped up.
With Seksy launching in 2004, Sekonda continued to expand its overseas plan from 2005 onwards, to the point where it now sells over 700k units per year in 155 locations in 56 countries. These remarkable figures represent staggering growth. In the last eight years, unit sales have grown by 185% and value of sales has grown 308%. Given the large numbers involved, this growth is nothing short of phenomenal.
As recently as 2009, Sekonda was only present in travel retail in less than 20 countries, so to now be sold in the 56 countries (and growing) that it is today is the main driving force behind the dramatic growth in sales, especially as it’s honed the art and technique of maximising sales in limited space over time.
As Sekonda is now sold in almost every major UK airport, a huge number of international airports, and swathes of the world’s airlines, ferries and cruise ships, it can genuinely and legitimately claim to be one of the major watch brands in the world of travel retail. If the brand has achieved this much in such a short space of time, it is incredibly exciting to think what the future holds for this innovative and hugely popular brand.