02 May 2016 13:49 IST

Time for change: demand for premium watches upwards of ₹10,000 growing

Graham gordon watch for watch collection Premium   -  BUSINESS LINE

Bengaluru registers the maximum sale followed by Delhi, Mumbai

Premium analogue watches seem to have caught the fancy of the Indian consumer, as watches priced upwards of ₹10,000 are witnessing brisk sales across the country, clearly bypassing industry predictions of smart watches taking over consumer wallet share. The watch industry classifies all watches priced upwards of ₹5,000 as premium.

Bengaluru tops the list

E-commerce behemoth Amazon.in has a collection of 5,000 watches from 30 premium brands available for sale in its premium watch store. Seventy per cent of the demand on Amazon.in is for analogue, round dialled, premium watches with black dials and stainless steel or leather bands and 60 per cent of the demand generated is by men.

It was not the fashion-conscious capital city of Delhi or the country’s financial hub Mumbai that lead in the demand for premium watches but, IT capital Bengaluru which witnessed the maximum sale of premium watches, followed by Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Pune.

“Since we launched the Watch category in September 2013, there has been a 200 per cent increase in selection with over 60,000 styles, and we now have the largest in-stock selection of 17,000 watches in India. We have been building premium watches as a category only since the last eight months and have seen the average selling price of premium watches increase to ₹9,700 today from ₹9,000,” Mayank Shivam, Category Leader, Amazon Fashion, told BusinessLine.

Online shelf space

Watch brands such as Aspen, Casio, Citizen, Seiko, Timex and Nautica find online shelf space with exclusive-to-Amazon brands such as Invicta, MTV Watches, Caravelle New York, Stuhrling, Timex Ironman MoveX20 and Casio Youth, among others.

“We saw a huge surge in demand for premium watches in Surat and Vadodara. These two cities contribute to 2 per cent of sales overall for premium watches,” said Shivam. Seiko, one of the top three premium watch selling brands in the country also witnessed a huge surge in demand from Tier 2 cities such as Patna, Bhubaneshwar, Meerut, Chandigarh, Lucknow and Kanpur.

Demand from women

“Demand from Patna has grown to 3 per cent of our turnover today from a zero base two years ago,” Niladri Mazumder, Vice-President, Seiko Watch India, told BusinessLine. Seiko sells premium watches upwards of ₹10,000 up to ₹8 lakh and the company’s average selling price in India is ₹24,500. “Of the 400 premium watch models that we offer, 185 are actively selling at any point in time. Demand from women has shot up to 18 per cent from 10 per cent of our sales two years ago, and our ‘Lord’ collection especially customised for India, in the ₹16,500-35,500 range contributes to 25 per cent of our annual turnover today,” said Mazumder.

Interestingly, 60 per cent of the demand for smart watches which grew 160 per cent over the past seven months on Amazon.in emanated from Tier 2 & 3 cities such as Ahmedabad, Gurgaon, Coimbatore and Surat. Predictably, tech-savvy city Bengaluru topped the demand for smart watches in metros, followed by Mumbai, Hyderabad and Delhi.

Titan Company, which continues to dominate the organised watch market especially in the ₹800-3,000 price bracket, has actively been strategising in order to expand its muscle in the premium category with a build out of new Titan watch stores in Tier 2 & 3 cities such as Haldwani, Gorakhpur, Indore, Belgaum, Davangere, Tirunelveli, Nagercoil and Gangtok, to name a few.

“We have been seeing high growth in the sales of premium watches upwards of ₹4,000 as customers are willing to pay a premium for strong differentiators such as design or technology which we offer in our Raga Moonlight collection and Juxt Smart watches, for instance. Customer response to our premium collections sold in large format retail stores and to Swiss watches in our Helios stores, has also been very encouraging,” said S Ravi Kant, CEO Watches & Accessories, Titan Company Ltd.

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