Luxury fashion house LVMH dramatically outperformed the Swiss watch industry in 2016, with a global rise in sales of 5% for its watches and jewellery division.
Worldwide exports for Swiss watchmakers fell by almost 10% in 2016, but the brands of France’s LVMH, headed by TAG Heuer and Hublot, rose 5% to €3.47 billion.
Profits for watches and jewellery also rose, by 6% to €458 million.
Watches and jewellery accounted for just under 10% of LVMH’s total global turnover in 2016 of €37.6 billion and contributed 6% of global profit for the year.
LVMH does not provide a breakdown of revenue and profit by brand or by each individual country.
In a trading statement accompanying its 2016 results, the company said: “TAG Heuer grew despite a difficult market for watches, gained market share, and benefited from the success of its new collections and its connected watch.
“Hublot accelerated its development in Asia and recorded the best year in its history.”
LVMH said that jewellery and watch brand Bulgari was starting to make a mark in the watch market. “The Diva and Lvcea watches confirmed their growth potential, while in the challenging market for men’s watches Octo continued to make progress following a record year in 2015,” the trading statement described.
The performance of Zenith was not described in detail, but Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of TAG Heuer and head of the the LVMH Watch Division, took control of the brand in December after sacking its CEO. LVMH hinted that it expected more from Zenith in 2017.
“Zenith maintained its focus on models in its iconic El Primero collection and will soon unveil its revolutionary new El Primero 21 movement,” LVMH described. “The brand continued to consolidate its organisation while benefiting from the synergies offered by the Group and its other watchmaking businesses.”
This year will see LVMH expand its retail reach in select markets, and particularly online. “The Watches and Jewelry business group is actively pursuing its market share growth target. Over the coming months, LVMH will focus on boosting its brands’ visibility and reputation for excellence in the most buoyant regions through sustained investment, particularly in the digital arena,” the company said.