Luxury watchmakers are moving towards this year’s holiday season buoyed by exceptional sales for the first half of 2018.
Retail analyst NPD, which collects sales data directly from POS systems and ecommerce receipts of thousands of US retailers, says that the value of sales for the entire watch market was up by 8% in H1, but the top end of the market has accelerated fastest due to sharply rising average transaction values.
“It is so good to see the total watch market in the US doing so well. Watch sales for the first half of 2018 were up 8%, that is the first time in at least three years that sales have been up year-on-year. That growth has really been driven by higher average selling prices,” Reginald Brack, executive director, industry analyst — watches and luxury — for NPD tells WatchPro.
The only part of the watch market still in decline is for watches priced at $300 and under, where Mr Brack says smartwatches and fitness trackers are eating into demand for traditional timepieces.
Luxury watches are so strong that the market is facing severe shortages of the most popular models, particularly steel sports models from Rolex and Patek Philippe.
“Everything else, as you go up the food chain gets better and better, and into double digit growth rates when we get above the $10,000 price point,” Mr Brack describes.
“The $10,000 to $25,000 price band is up by 17%. When you get above $25,000, the growth is up 20%. That is amazing to see. The brands are so much more confident going into the all-important holiday season,” he adds.
Sell-through for retailers appears to be rising faster than sales in from brands and wholesalers. Exports of Swiss watches to the United States have risen by 6.5% in the first nine months or 2018, lower than the 8% growth in retail sales reported by NPD.