Watch brands rethink growth amid slowing Chinese Market

Growth without consolidation is dangerous, because anything that grows too fast or flies too fast will come crashing down.
— Jean-Claude Biver, Hublot Chairman

After eight days at the end of April, BaselWorld watch and jewellery show closed with over 120,000 visitors, up 17 percent over last year.  This growth comes at a time where luxury Swiss watchmakers are expecting a slowdown into China and Hong Kong, 2 of the top three markets for luxury timepieces.   

 

In the first three months of the year, the Wall Street Journal reported that Swiss watch exports to mainland China fell nearly 26 percent.  This decline has partially been attributed to the changing political landscape in China.  With the new nomination of premier Li Kegiang, luxury gifting as part of the business landscape is falling out of favour.  With a shifting consumer and slowing market growth - expected to be 9 percent this year, off of double digit increases the previous two years, luxury brands are introducing new strategies to serve the customer.  

Heritage and innovation are helping to maintain interest.  "They [consumers] know that they want to invest in iconic brands and iconic products" said Giorgio Sarne, GM of Tag Heuer.  See a quick round-up of the fair's highlights above.  

The World Watch Report.  

The World Watch Report.