Deloitte Swiss Watch Industry 2023 Study Breakdown - Part 2: India, the Swiss Watch Market’s New Darling

Deloitte Swiss Watch Industry 2023 Study Breakdown - Part 2: India, the Swiss Watch Market’s New Darling
Source - Deloitte.

The Deloitte Swiss Watch Industry Study 2023 highlights India as the emerging powerhouse for Swiss watch exports. Industry executives overwhelmingly identify India as the next significant growth market, a sentiment echoing for several years but particularly prevalent this year.

1. Consumer Insights into Watch Ownership

Surveyed respondents in India indicate a high propensity for watch ownership, with only 6% not wearing one. Wristwatches, akin to jewelry, particularly gold, are a prized adornment in India. This cultural inclination is reflected in the numbers: From January to August 2023, Swiss watch exports to India were valued at CHF 133.7 million, an 18.5% YoY increase, and nearly 60% higher than the same period in 2021.

Source - Deloitte.

2. Economic and Demographic Drivers

India’s GDP, driven by consumption, is expected to more than double to US$4.5 trillion by 2030. With a growing middle class, urbanization, and the majority of the population within the 18 to 55 age bracket, consumer spending is on the rise. The country housed 849,000 millionaires in 2022, expected to grow to over 1.6 million by 2026. Luxury goods retail sales are projected to reach US$10.9 billion by 2030, up from US$6.6 billion in 2023.

3. Impact of Digital Transition

The 2016 demonetization policy and the COVID-19 pandemic have reshaped consumer behavior towards digital payment channels, facilitating high-value luxury purchases. Deloitte's ConsumerSignals report reveals 75% of Indian consumers experienced improved financial situations in 2023, driving increased interest in luxury brands.

4. Retail Landscape and Brand Presence

Swiss watch brands like Favre-Leuba have had a presence in India since the mid-1800s. Brands are available via authorized dealers such as Ethos Ltd. and Kapoor Watch Company. Barriers to direct entry necessitate local partnerships. Ethos Ltd., established in 2003, has curbed the grey market and experiences over 30% yearly growth. Kapoor Watch Company operates 11 showrooms and houses 17 luxury brands. Timex Group's acquisition of Just Watches in May 2023 indicates the value of engaging with authorized dealers.

5. E-commerce and Digital Marketing

With predictions of one billion Indian smartphone users by 2026, brands are tapping into e-commerce and digital marketing. Nearly half (48%) of respondents expressed willingness to purchase NFT versions of watches for investment and authentication purposes.

6. The Pre-owned Market and Sustainability

The pre-owned Swiss watch market in India is growing, with 55% of respondents likely to buy a pre-owned watch in the next year. Investment opportunities and sustainability are driving factors. Over half of the respondents (52%) consider sustainability more important than brand image.

Source - Deloitte.

7. Projection for the Swiss Watch Industry

India, poised to become the third-largest economy by 2027, offers a lucrative market for Swiss watches. By 2028, Swiss watch exports to India are predicted to surpass CHF 400 million, potentially placing India in the top 10 of Swiss export markets within a decade.

Note: This is a condensed breakdown of the Deloitte Swiss Watch Industry Study 2023. For a detailed analysis, readers are encouraged to refer to the complete report.


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