In conversation with Jean-Marc Jacot, CEO Parmigiani Fleurier
How has your company performed in 2015 and what are your expectations for the rest of the year ?
Our performances so far in 2015 rank as average with regards to last year – 10% lower to be precise. These performances differ greatly from one market to another. Asia is doing very badly and especially Hong Kong. The European market on the other hand, is doing fine. France for instance is performing very well so far in 2015 and so is Switzerland.
Generally speaking, the field of watchmaking is going through the crisis of the Asian market which is the most important market worldwide. China is down by 40%, Hong Kong by 30% and these customers have changed their touristic patterns in 2015 which affects all the other regions that were benefiting from their visits so far. The Middle-East for instance has seen a direct decrease of 30% in sales this year which is due to the Asian market.
Have there been any major significant changes in terms of product (price point) or male vs female?
Our brand has not changed its price point despite the major CHF-EUR shift in January 2015.
As for the male-female distribution, our brand is currently proud to have a proportion of 60-40 (men-women), which is quite a unique percentage in our field. We intend to keep it that way and keep targeting our women customers with exclusive feminine products that are in no way a transposition of a man’s watch but rather made to measure for ladies.
Parmigiani Fleurier now has a set of 7 collections, or families of products which are stable and were built for the long term. We are always enriching these 7 collections with new additions, for example the Tonda 1950 Tourbillon launched in January which is this year’s big novelty.
Which are your top 3 markets in terms of sales?
Switzerland, France and Hong Kong in third position despite the slow-down.
Are there any particular markets you target in terms of retail expansion? New markets in terms of potential?
The markets that we are especially targeting this year are USA and Japan. We are “reopening” rather than merely opening our distribution in these 2 countries. In the USA we are repositioning the brand and launching it again with a new insistence. In Japan, we have created a subsidiary last year to better affirm our grounds. Both of these countries represent a huge development potential.
On the other hand, Germany, Great Britain and Italy are key markets this year and we are also investing very actively in those countries.
What is your present distribution model? How many mono-brand boutiques do you operate? What is your view on franchising versus directly operated boutiques?
95% of our distribution network is operated through the traditional network of retailers. Our main mono-brand boutique is the Atelier Parmigiani in London on Mount Street. Our philosophy consists in refusing to counteract this network of professional partners.
Which is your bestseller watch of 2015? Do you plan to introduce any new models for the rest of 2015?
Our bestselling product is the Tonda 1950. As said previously, we are now working on expanding this collection, with the Tonda 1950 Tourbillon for example. There will be no other revolutionary or different product launch this year.
How important are Parmigiani Lifestyle associations?
They are crucial in the sense that these partnerships animate the brand for all our partners – whether they are clients, media, customers, retailers or even the staff. It’s very important to us to be able to give life to the brand through other means than the conventional advertising ways.
Besides Bugatti, do you consider any other partnerships / associations?
Aside from Bugatti, we have an ongoing partnership with Pershing and with Lalique. We don’t have plans to become partners with any other brand at the moment – not by choice but because these associations are mostly a matter of opportunity. When a great opportunity shows up, we seize it and develop new partnerships.
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