Swiss Watch Import Growth To Britain Outpaced Retail Sales Expansion In 2022

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Watch sales in Great Britain grew by 4.6% across the whole of 2022, despite a contraction of 2.1% in December, according to retail analyst GfK.

The market had been cooling since the summer, and some jewellers had reported sales being slow to recover momentum after the official mourning period following the death of the Queen.

The final weeks before Christmas were plagued with snow and a freezing cold snap, train strikes and the ongoing cost of living squeeze, but sales were still almost flat on a year earlier.

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Watch sales held up despite economic and meteorological headwinds trying to blow shoppers off course.

Britain remains top-heavy when it comes to the strongest-performing parts of the market with sales of watches priced at over £10,000 rising by 9.2% in 2022 while watches in the highly competitive £1,000 to £3,000 segment dipped by 5.8%.

High volume watches priced at under £500 saw 2022 sales match 2021, a hopeful sign that the inexpensive end of the market has found a floor after contracting every year since 2015.

The value of online watch sales fell by 8.3% while brick and mortar sales were up 6.2% in London and 6.8% in the rest of Britain.

The trend for the British public buying fewer watches but paying higher average prices extended into last year with the average transaction value rising by 8.3% over the year.

Retail sales growth of 4.6% for the whole of 2022 in Britain compares to a rise in Swiss watch exports to this country of 21.7% for the first 11 months of the year (full year figures are released on January 24).

This suggests rising stock levels in the UK after two years of shortages for a growing list of watches from brands including Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, A. Lange & Sohne and Zenith.

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