Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/30/2014 -- Swiss luxury watches enjoy strong popularity in the United Arab Emirates and are widely viewed as status symbols, both by aspirational local consumers and by tourists focused on luxury shopping. The country has the largest sales in the GCC region for Swiss watches according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry and is the only Middle Eastern country to be in this federation's top 10 in terms of sales. All major Swiss luxury brands are present in the United Arab Emirates and many operate mono brand boutiques in shopping malls. Strong growth in tourist arrivals towards the end of the review period meanwhile further boosted sales of these products, which are particularly popular among Chinese and Russian consumers.
Watches remained highly fragmented at the end of the review period, with "others" accounting for close to 77% value share in 2012. Leading player Rivoli in contrast accounted for less than 7% value share in the year and lost share marginally as the range of brands available continued to expand. The strong and growing share of "others" reflects wide and increasing diversity in the range of watches available in the United Arab Emirates, thanks to strong retailing development in the country. "Others" are particularly strong in basic and mid mechanical, accounting for 86% and 79% value share respectively in the year. These smaller players are also strong in mid and high quartz analogue and digital, accounting for over three-quarters of value sales in each in 2012.
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Watches is expected to continue to benefit from the popularity of the United Arab Emirates as a shopping destination for tourists of all income groups during the forecast period. While strong development in luxury retailing will fuel good growth for high-priced watches, the leading product area in value terms, there is also expected to be strong growth in mid-priced and basic watches. Basic watches is indeed set to see the strongest growth in value at constant 2013 prices during the forecast period with a CAGR of 8%. Growth will be fuelled by a focus on distribution via kiosks located in high-traffic mall locations, with these encouraging impulse purchases. For many tourists, basic brands such as Swatch will be chosen as an affordable gift for friends and family.
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