Consumer spending in the United Arab Emirates took a hit during the economic slowdown of 2016 and 2017. In 2018, there was a slight improvement in consumer spending, which was reflected in value sales growth of watches returning to positive territory.
One of the pioneers in creating limited edition Dubai capsule pieces is Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, which has proved to be very successful. A recent example of this type of product was the 2018 launch by luxury watchmaker Jaquet Droz of its exclusive United Arab Emirates timepiece called Bird Repeater Falcon – a nod to Emirati culture, with falconry an ancient tradition of the region.
People are increasingly buying watches online, and even second-hand models. G-Shock and other Casio watch brands are available on souq.
The popularity of smartwatches and fitness trackers increased as technology-led devices offered superior functionality and advantageous pricing as the competition intensified. Young adults therefore purchased devices such as Apple Watch, Samsung Gear and Fitbit.
While some parts of the world might feel that the Rolex brand is a little outdated, in the United Arab Emirates there is still a voracious appetite for this luxury watchmaker’s products. So much so that Rolex retailers have had to train staff on how to deal with disappointed customers who need to be told that there is currently no stock or that there is a 6-month waiting list.
International brands continued to lead watches in the United Arab Emirates. There are very few products made domestically, because there is little infrastructure or structural support for local manufacturing.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our watches market research database.