1. We’re experiencing an unusual situation with an extremely unstable economic, monetary and political situation. In this kind of context, the emotional factor has a direct impact on consumer behaviour. Add in the strong competition from smartwatches, primarily in the low-end segments and you have the unique situation we’re in now. However, I’m anticipating an improvement towards the end of the second half of the year. On the one hand, customers are going to get used to the instability, and on the other the high stocks resulting from our industry’s very long — too long — time-to-market will have been absorbed.
2. Consolidation of the major markets, but also revitalisation of some promising markets. What’s happening is a play-off between quality and quantity, but we’re not necessarily anticipating a closing-down of markets. At the same time, we’re planning to open our own boutique in larger premises better suited to grouping all our operations together. As for new launches, we’ll try to go on surprising people with contemporary, innovative products and using traditional know-how.
3. The advent of smartwatches might strengthen interest in exclusive mechanical watches if we play our cards right. Nevertheless, the competition represents a grave risk for our industry in the short term, especially for low-end watches where we’ve been seeing an acceleration of market losses. We’re in great danger of losing part of the industry’s fabric.
4. We’re not expecting to generate more sales but to maintain the same level as last year, which was a very good one. That said, our participation in this trade fair is becoming less and less important because it’s not here that we post the major part of our sales. Some of our partners don’t even come any more. There’s a lack of vision about the key component in our business: the end customer. We deplore the organisation’s lack of heed for the realities of today’s markets. However, it’s still an important event from the press point of view. You can meet the media from all over the world in a very short time.
EUROPA STAR’S FOUR QUESTIONS
1. What are your predictions for 2016? Do you think that exports will recover, or will the markets stagnate or continue to decline after the slump we saw in 2015? And what do you think were the reasons for the downturn in 2015?
2. What are your priorities for the coming year: consolidating your existing markets, actively exploring new markets (if so, which), rationalising / consolidating / expanding your distribution network, launching new products, PR initiatives, etc.?
3. Over the longer term, do you believe that mechanical watchmaking will gradually die out, hybridise, or continue to occupy its own exclusive niche? Do you see the advent of smartwatches as a potential threat, or an opportunity for growth and diversification?
4. What exactly do you hope to achieve from your participation in Baselworld 2016? Do you feel your presence at the fair is essential to your business, or are such forums less important now than they were in the past?