Luxury watches bet on India

Monday, 22 March 2010

India is becoming the next big destination for luxury watch brands. Every major watchmaker is looking to expand its presence in the country. Be it Rado, Fossil or Rolex, they have all recorded a healthy growth in the last one year despite the economic slowdown. Now they want to extend their footprint by opening more outlets. The Rs 1,200 crores luxury watch segment in India was one of the few sectors that did not face recessionary pressures and players are expecting to clock double-digit growth even this year.

Take watch studio Ethos for example, which earns around 25 per cent of its turnover from luxury watches. The brand is betting big on high-end watches in India. Last year, around 600 clients bought Ethos watches in the price range of Rs 1-2 lakh. The brand is expecting to clock a higher growth this year.

Varuni Mohan, brand consultant with Salvatore Ferragamo in India, said they were seeing a huge demand for jewel encrusted watches. Luxury watches in India start at Rs 30,000-40,000 and go up to few lakhs. In 2009, an AT Kearney report revealed premium watches grew at around 55 per cent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) compared to the 19 per cent CAGR in jewelry market over the last four years. This segment of watches is dominated by imported brands that constitute 77.1 per cent while local brands account for 22.9 per cent.

No wonder Swiss luxury watchmaker Rado is excited about India. The brand currently has 11 boutiques in India and plans to add five more this year. Fossil, which started operations in 2008, doubled its sales in 2009, albeit on a lower base. The firm?s portfolio of brands includes Fossil, DKNY, Diesel, Emporio Armani, Burberry, Adidas, Michele, Zodiac and Relic.

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