After seeing both retail volume and current value growth for several years, luxury timepieces turned to strong decline in volume terms in 2020, with a slightly slower current value decline due to price rises. In order to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the country, the government implemented a hard lockdown.
Luxury timepieces are a favourite status-driven accessory for aspirational consumers and wealthy shoppers alike. The nouveau riche invests in luxury watches to demonstrate their newly acquired success and social status.
The comfortable sales leadership of Cie Financière Richemont in 2019 arises from the fact that it has distribution rights to strong brands such as IWC Schaffhausen, Vacheron Constantin and Jaeger-LeCoultre, amongst others. These brands are amongst the favourites of both South African and African consumers in general.
Due to the continued presence of COVID-19 in South Africa at the beginning of 2021, luxury timepieces is expected to continue to decline in both retail volume and current value terms in this year. Aspirational consumers, who tend to be the biggest driver of sales of affordable luxury timepieces, are likely to remain in “wait and watch” mode in the near future, and will maintain cautious spending behaviour due to the economic impact of the virus.
In the forecast period, the change in the customer mix seen in 2020 is gradually expected to be reversed. As borders reopen along with vaccination both in South Africa and globally, wealthy locals who like to do their luxury shopping when they travel abroad, as they get better prices and product choices, will be able to travel once again.
Even before COVID-19, pre-owned luxury timepieces were gaining traction locally, with more authorised dealers and online players servicing the South African market. South Africans are also slowly warming up to the idea of purchasing luxury timepieces online, especially from reputable websites.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Luxury Timepieces industry in South Africa with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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This report originates from Passport, our Luxury Timepieces research and analysis database.
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