Time for a chat
Kipp speaks with Mohammed Abdulmagied Seddiqi, vice president of Sales and Retail at Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons about the watch industry, and how it’s been affected by the crisis.
August 22, 2009 6:55 by Dana El Baltaji
Kipp: Has the luxury watch market been affected by the global financial crisis?
Seddiqi: Everyone’s been affected, including everyone in the watch industry. The boom we saw last year will never come back. It was an exceptional year, and everyone made a lot of money,
but it’s over, and now everyone needs to take a step back and concentrate on other things, like services.
Kipp: Are customers being more careful about their purchases?
Seddiqi: Yes, previously a client would walk into a store, see a watch he likes and buy it in all the colors available. It was a bit over-exaggerated. People were making and spending a lot of money.
Today people are still buying watches, but they’re being more careful. They’re looking at watches as investments, as something that they’ll keep for a long time, rather than just seasonal products. They’ve been opting for more classical choices, which stay in fashion longer.
We’ve also noticed that collectors have remained active; they haven’t slowed down their purchases because of the financial crisis. If a collector wants a watch, he will get it. But what has changed is that collectors no longer look to the secondary market and pay premiums to get these pieces because the watches are more easily available in the primary market today than they were in 2008.
Kipp: Your list of brands is a mile long. Has any one of your brands seen an increase in sales since the crisis hit the region?
Seddiqi: We have three categories of brands: fashion; mid-range and high-end complications. We noted an increase in sales in the fashion category, where the price of a watch is relatively low.
My explanation for it is that a middle income individual buying a Guess watch is still getting the same salary he was been getting in 2008; and a student is still a student, he relies on his parents for pocket money, and can therefore still afford a Guess watch.
However, a wealthy businessman’s salary, which depends mostly on the performance of his company, has dropped considerably recently. Today, he’d think twice before spending AED100,000 on a watch.
This is what I derived from the crisis.
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