Luxury timepieces showed a healthy performance in 2018, and is expected to maintain solid current value growth over the forecast period. The more favourable economic climate is set to support domestic demand, with an increasing number of Italians expected to trade up to higher-value offerings, which will lead to a higher level of premiumisation within the category.
Men are the key buyers of luxury timepieces, regarding these objects as one of the most desired luxury items and as a symbol of prestige and success. Men generally purchase technologically-enhanced timepieces which are in the high price bracket, considering low-priced watches as inferior in quality; a tendency resulting in a higher unit price compared with women’s luxury timepieces.
Millennials are set to become increasingly important consumers of luxury timepieces, and will present different preferences and shopping habits compared with baby boomers and generation X consumers. Millennials will demand accessibility in terms of price and in the way luxury timepieces brands present themselves, both digitally and in terms of store-based shopping experiences that encourage discovery.
Rolex Italia continued to be the absolute leader in luxury timepieces in Italy in value terms in 2017, thanks to its Tudor brand, and above all thanks to its Rolex brand, which remains synonymous with luxury timepieces with classical and ambitious style. Rolex recorded double-digit value growth in 2017.
The competitive landscape in luxury timepieces in Italy was quite fragmented in value terms in 2017, with international brands occupying the top rankings, as “Made in Switzerland” is associated with the highest quality, expertise and precision by consumers in Italy. The second major player in 2017 was Cie Financière Richemont, thanks to its wide portfolio of luxury timepieces brands, including Swiss brands such as IWC, Cartier, Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Officine Panerai.
Meanwhile, The Swatch Group ranked third in luxury timepieces in Italy in 2017, operating with its luxury Longines and Omega brands, positioned in second and third positions, respectively. After a less enthusiastic performance in 2016, The Swatch Group showed mild growth in 2017, which was mainly driven by the positive performance of Longines, which benefited from its refined and classical positioning, and in particular from trendy collections such as the Heritage and Master Collections.
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