uropa Star: What are your main strategic objectives for 2022?
Mohammed Abdulmagied Seddiqi: Our objectives will continue to be to sustain relationships with our existing clients, while catering to the rising demand for watches in the region. There has been a rise in demand across all brands in the Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons portfolio. This explains why the United Arab Emirates was ranked as the eighth largest market in the world for Swiss watches last year. We see this continuing for the foreseeable future. It is important for us to continue to set the standard in our region, through new immersive shopping experiences, new limited edi- tions or new collaborations with brands, while establishing the UAE as hub for luxury and horology.
With the current supply shortage in the industry, collectors and novices are diversifying their interests and increasingly looking to a lot of independent brands. There has also been a rise in demand for micro brands which sparked the creation of Vyntage, an initiative under the Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons umbrella. Our vision was to collaborate with micro brands and create unique collectible pieces that appeal to collectors globally.
“There has been a rise in demand across all brands. This explains why the UAE was ranked as the eighth largest market in the world for Swiss watches last year.”
How did the pandemic impact your business over the last two years?
The pandemic was tough for a lot of businesses but we witnessed some positive growth during this time. Given the travel restrictions that were previously in place, we were approached by new and existing clients, who were very keen to purchase watches due to a larger disposable income. Clients were learning more about watches and truly developing their passion for horology during this period. We were also approached by a wave of younger generation collectors, who were keen to start their collecting journey. They are well aware of what the market has to offer, and truly have a passion for educating themselves as they look to navigate the watch industry.
What is the most dynamic segment of your business: multi-brand brick-and-mortar stores, mono-brand brick-and-mortar stores, online sales, something else?
At Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, we focus on the brick-and-mortar experience primarily and we believe this plays a key role in the customer experience. We also launched an e-boutique during the pandemic which has been a vital platform to showcase our offering. We are currently working on enhancing the in-store experience across our network of multi-brand boutiques as a priority.
We currently have over 70 boutiques in the UAE, and this will continue to be an avenue we keep an eye on as we look to pioneer the regional retail landscape. We have expanded into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; however, this is still a relatively new venture. The expansion has been successful thus far, and we hope to continue our growth there while respecting other retailers present in the country.