1. The introduction of smart- watches and other connected accessories has given customers more choices than they’ve had before. And, that’s a good, posi- tive change for our industry. It‘s additive to the traditional watch business. We are still at an early moment in the smart-watch/ connected accessories space and there is room for many brands to succeed. As long as watch companies can quickly come to market with their own take on blending the traditional watch with the latest connected technology, this market evolution will produce positive results for all.
2. We are launching wearables for several brands in more than 100 styles in 2016. Our retail partners will see the power of Fossil Group’s scale and consumers will see the variety of functionality, style, colours and brands they desire. We’ve already nearly doubled our distribution and are positioned to produce a broad variety of connected products that appeal to both fashion and consumer electronics channels.
3. Mechanical watchmaking is an art and Fossil Group will continue to create watches for the mechanical watch customer who is often a brand-loyal passionate watch enthusiast. These are valuable customers who generate priceless word-of-mouth references for our brands. Smart-watches and connected accessories are opportunities for brands to deepen their connections with their loyal customers. The more options we can give customers to pair their fashion sense with their connection needs, the more opportunities we have to interact with them and become a part of their lives.
4. Baselworld is our opportunity to connect with our clients, our business partners and journalists in a setting fully devoted to what we do best – watchmaking. For traditional watches, nothing will replace Baselworld however, as brands merge traditional watches and technology, conferences such as CES (Consumer Electronics Show) and Mobile World Congress are competing as a stage for news-making for watch brands.
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?