Watches was one of the worst hit categories by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 but is expected to post a mild recovery in 2021 with single digit growth expected for the year. At the beginning of 2021, the category began its slow recovery, but Italy was then hit by a third wave of contagion in March 2021 which left most regions of the country subject to the strictest restrictions again as red zones.
In 2021, high mechanical watches is expected to be the top performing product area in terms of retail current value growth. This category was one of the worst hit by the lack of international tourism during 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Italian sales of high mechanical watches depending heavily on sales to international consumers.
Rolex Italia continued to lead watches in Italy in value terms in 2019, as Rolex is popular for investment purchases. A Rolex watch is considered to be of the highest precision and quality and is an aspirational item, remaining the most recognised luxury Swiss watch brand in Italy thanks to its high-end collections.
Over the forecast period, the recovery of watches in Italy is expected to follow different patterns depending on the price positioning of watches. High watches, led by high mechanical watches, for instance, are expected to post a much faster recovery from the negative impact of COVID-19 over the coming years.
Jewellery and watch specialist retailers are expected to remain the most important channel for watches, especially for high mechanical watches, over the forecast period. During the 2020 lockdown and also during the period of closures due to the “red zone” restrictions in 2021 (mainly March), these retailers adapted their sales model to the new scenario.
Despite the continued importance of physical retailing to high watches especially, e-commerce is expected to continue to grow in this category over the forecast period. Many brands are investing in the expansion or improvement of their digital sales services, offering more opportunities for e-commerce and a better e-commerce shopping experience.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Watches industry in Italy 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 Watches research and analysis database.
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