The year 2016 will be very challenging for the Swiss Watch industry. The right measures have to be taken in the right moment at the right places on earth …
All of you who listened to my interviews with the CEOs during the SIHH in January know that this year will in fact be quite challenging. Now the newest figures from January 2016 are available and we can see a very first trend of what´s going on. Have a look and then at the end of my article please read my personal thoughts for 2016 …
The statistics on Swiss watch exports are updated monthly. They are based on foreign trade statistics prepared by the Swiss Federal Customs Administration. All values are expressed as export prices, according to declarations made by the exporting firms. So unfortunately there are no figures from the Swiss market available.
After an ongoing upward trend the last years things have changed now. In short I would say that today everybody is very cautious and vigilant. Intelligent acting brands will stay in their appropriates segments and risk nothing. I expect the brands to only present a few real novelties during Baselworld. Except maybe Hublot with a new series of limited editions 🙂 New products will still be very important for the brands, but I guarantee you the novelties will be absolutely in line with the brand and its collections. I think we will see even more replicas of past icons in the near future.
What we customers can expect is “more watch for the money“. Either by new and cheaper models or radical price adaptions of existing overpriced models. Value for money really is an issue!
Brands legitimacy also, the customer will only buy a safe heaven. Brands with no history and/or background will suffer the most and/or disappear from the market very, very soon. I could name you a list of brands I expect to disappear soon …
No selling of no-names for astronomical prices anymore! No selling of ticking chimera anymore!
I think the biggest actual threat for everyone in the moment is how to react in case of any new evil tidings…
The biggest challenge is how to find the customer … how to serve the customer… how to pamper the customer when once found …
It is not clear yet where the Chinese will travel & buy this year. The industry needs to follow its biggest group of buyers and these simply are the Chinese.
The industry will have to have the right product at the right time in the right places… So intelligent and reactive logistics are needed.
The brands will have to reactivate traditional, „old“ markets that had been recklessly neglected in the last years since everyone believed in the infinite growth in China and Hongkong.
How to deal with the overstock of many retailers is also a big issue. The latter leads to more and more grey market and huge discounts.
The big and established players MUST keep the markets clean and have to help retailers that suffer under the problem of overstocks.
I am very much convinced that an increasing number of watch brands will give more emphasis to online sales channels in the next months to come.
I am also convinced that the watch brands will continue to focus on digital media in their marketing campaigns. I think social media and online blogs/forums will by far be the most important marketing channels in the near future.
The consumer wants to find more and more specific information about the quality of a product and this information necessarily must not come from one of the next official marketing campaigns. This is information in the end to rectify the price and to underline the top quality of Swiss made watches.
I don´t think smart watches will be an issue for “Swiss made”-brands. Maybe the very low price segment will suffer, since if you try sell no name/value/quality for too much money the consumer will tend to buy a smart watch instead. From the middle price segment on Swiss-made-manufacturers will not have a dramatic impact.
I expect more Swiss-made-brands to present their appropriate answers to the smart watches.
Do you agree/disagree? What are your thoughts about 2016. Write a comment and share it with all my readers worldwide…