Sales of luxury watches in the UK rose by 53.5% in October, according to the latest monthly retail analysis by GfK.
The growth is even faster than in September (+39.7%) and contributes to a growth rate over the past 12 months of 25.1% for watches priced at over £1000.
Richemont Group, LVMH Group and Rolex have all raised UK prices by around 10% since Britain’s vote to leave the UK triggered a plunge in the value of the pound and made luxury watches in the UK about 20% cheaper than the rest of the world.
Far from dampening sales, this price rise appears only have driven revenues even higher for retailers of the most popular luxury brands.
“October was another impressive month for sales of luxury watches in the GB market; we saw many of the largest luxury watch brands see strong volume and value growth last month vs October 2015. This was a combination of an increase in demand (higher volume) and an increase in average sale price,” says Paul Mitchell GfK account director for watches.
“Some brands have already publicised that they will be increasing prices, or already have, which in part led to the rise in average sale price. However with the prospect of higher prices in mind, consumers may have been willing to purchase at a higher price point in advance of a publicised rise, in the knowledge that they are getting more for their money now than they would after the rise takes effect,” Mr Mitchell suggests.
There is strong evidence that tourism was a strong driver for UK watch sales, with London retailers enjoying a 55% rise over October 2015, and increasing its share of the entire UK market up to 40%, according to Mr Mitchell.
However, the rest of the country also saw sales increase by a healthy 11.8% in October – a dramatic acceleration over the first 10 months of the year, which saw sales growth outside London of only 1%.
The fashion and lifestyle end of the watch market is continuing to endure falling sales. The value of watch sales priced at £100-500 declined 5.5%, although this is a slower rate of decline than earlier in the year.