Decline in December shines light on record watch sales in 2021
Public reaction to the rise of the omicron in Britain weighed on sales in December but could not derail a spectacular year for the British watch industry.
Shops remained open in December, but people were voting with their feet, especially with the introduction of plan B guidance for working from home.
This contributed to the value of all watch sales which fell 22.7% in December compared to the same month a year earlier.
However, GfK reports that full-year sales rose 33.2%, with the high-end watch market hitting 5-digits driving the entire industry higher.
The total value of all watch sales in Britain is around £1.83 billion, although GfK does not confirm this figure.
The average transaction value of each watch sold in 2021 was nearly 40% higher than in 2020.
The total value of watch sales over £10,000 increased by 44.5%, almost exactly the same increase as for pieces selling between £5,000 and £10,000 (+44.6%).
Notably, the under £500 sector managed to squeeze in positive growth of 1.2% in 2021, the first time it has increased since 2014.
Although footfall dropped significantly in December, leading to lower in-store sales, there was no increase in online revenue to compensate.
Online sales fell 24.4% in December, but ended the year up almost 10% – proof, if it needs repeating, that brick and mortar is king when it comes to sales of prestige watches.
GfK’s data broadly aligns with Swiss figures, which show the UK as the world’s fourth largest market in November with exports worth 1.23 billion francs (0.99 billion francs). pounds sterling) for the first 11 months of the year.