The watch category registered its highest first-half sales in three years, with sales up eight percent versus last year. The back half of the year is generally larger than the first, so we are bullish on this peak holiday season once again bringing a strong finish to 2018.
Sales are being driven by higher price points, with watches over $3,000 up double digits year-to-date. Retailers carrying higher end brands can plan on robust sales through the holidays.
For those consumers wishing to purchase any Rolex or Patek steel Sport model, you’re not alone. This will be ‘The Year of Relationship Retail’, meaning if you don’t already have a strong relationship with an authorized retailer of either brand, you can forget obtaining one of these models at retail during the holidays. Neither brand sells direct-to-consumer nor online, so your only hope is having that relationship with a retailer in the all-important independent channel.
With increased casualization in apparel, consumers are buying watches they can wear from the beach to the boardroom. Sport watches will rule the holidays, as they continue to outperform dress models.
Cartier, currently the top selling women’s model in four out of five price bands, will remain in high demand. The brand’s efficient replenishment and distribution will only help them realize robust sales through the holiday.
One Watch Fits All
Unisex models will be popular, with more and more couples looking for watches they can share. With this ‘sizes, not sexes’ trend comes a better value proposition, and couples have been enjoying models with easy-change mechanisms that allow them to size their bracelets and change to straps with no tools, and without having to visit a watchmaker.
Blue the New Black
Blue dials continue to be popular and gain momentum, so bet that blue will remain the new black this holiday.