Hublot CEO: Double digit growth this year – Chinese consumers ranking 1st

Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe says that he expects the company to grow double digit, that is about 10-11 %, this year, well above the average luxury watch industry. Speaking to ComteamPUB+ he says that this year also the Chinese consumers will be the first big customer segment for this Swiss Luxury Watchmaker.

– This year will be very unique for Hublot. Our growth estimate is double digit that is 10-11 %, which is well above the 5-6 % average growth rate in the luxury watch industry this year. This year is also the first year for Chinese consumers to be ranked the number one. Our biggest growth is coming from the Greater China area, he says to ComteamPUB+.

Hublot, part of the LVMH Group (MC:FP),  is having 8 different brand stores in China and totally 18  in Greater China and the company is planning to open new stores globally so that the total stores would be around 100 in the next couple of years. This week the new opening is in Genf, Switzerland and in June they will open a new brand store in London, in the Old Bond Street.

-We want that our customers can experience the Hublot brand when they are travelling. So this is also important that the store locations are fitting our targets. We also want to demonstrate our strong brand, he explains.

Digital transformation in the focus

Digital transformation is in the focus of luxury watch industry nowadays. Companies are building different customer experiences in the internet with storytelling and strong social media channels. For example Hublot is having 2,9 million Instagram followers and in Facebook they are having 4,1 million followers.

-Digital transformation is shaping our industry. For example Hublot is having now 50 % of its advertising costs in digital channels compared to other media channels. And we are planning to build our own e-commerce platform in the couple of years. We want Hublot digital boutiques to offer a new Brand experience to our worldwide customers, he adds.

This e-commerce has been very difficult with the luxury watch industry because of the pricing and brand value. For example another Swiss luxury watch company, Richemont, has decided to buy back their luxury watches from external dealers. This has caused the company 200 million euros profit fall according to the Financial Times.

Mr Guadalupe sees the market differently and says that Hublot would not have to do the same thing than Richemond.

-We know our customers and we track the watches we sell. Hublot has no stock while our production is in line with the demand, he explains.

Hublot´s annual production is about 50.000 units, price range from 6000 – 50.000 euros each and the production site is in Nyon, Switzerland. The average price is 20 000 euros according to the company.

The first smartwatch, Hublot Big Bang Referee

During the BaselWorld2018 Hublot also launched its first smartwatch, operating with Android. This luxury smartwatch is part of the company partnerships with FIFA World Cup now in June in Russia.

-We are thrilled with the feedback from this watch, Hublot Big Bang Referee FIFA World Cup Russia 2018. This is really the first smartwatch for us and it is also seen as the first marketing tool for our FIFA partnership. We have invited about 1000 stakeholders in our FIFA events and we are looking forward for this big event, Mr Guadalupe comments.

The luxury smartwatch industry is very diversified. Apple Watch is the market dominant, but other luxury watchmakers like Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Tag Heuer are also in the markets with their smartwatches. In the LVMH Group, the development of the smartwatches, is being taken care of the internal development unit.This is also the way the Group can have efficient R&D expenditures. 

It is estimated that the global smartwatch sales would exceed 141 million units this year, while the estimates for the last year were 75 million units. In 2016 the sales were 38 million units.

Hublot was the first luxury brand to invest in football and has partnered with football for over 10 years and the company has different brand ambassadors like Pele, Usain Bolt, Dwyane Wade, Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson and Lang Lang.

The company has worked with the luxury car manufacturer Ferrari for many years and according to Mr Guadalupe some kind of connected smartwatch with Ferrari might be one option in the future.. The autonomous, connected cars can have also new innovations for smartwatches.

-When we work with smartwatches, it is good to remember that it is totally different market compared to mechanical watches, which is our core business. But working with wearables we want to show the innovative, unique and piece of art work in our products, he says.

The launched Hublot Big Bang Referee smartwatch enable users to take part in the FIFA game by sending them notifications and live score updates.The company says they have produced 2000 units of this watch so far.

Hublot and sustainability

As part of the LVMH Group, Hublot has also developed tools to track for example the raw materials in the luxury watches. Sustainability is becoming more common and part of the luxury watch industry processes more.

-We use different raw materials like gold, diamonds and titanium in our products. Sustainability means for us that we track the sourcing of the materials as good as possible and want to expand that analysing and recycling also in the future, he explains.

Quality, passion and details

But what does the CEO do at home?

-I am a football fan and therefore it is a pleasure for me to work in collaboration with FIFA. This is a third World Cup for me. And when I am at home, I like to cook. Gastronomy is my hobby as well  You know: it is like watch making: quality, passion and details, he says.

© Päivi Härkönen, ComteamPUB+

Lifestyle Tech

Winter city with Volvo V40

Volvo V40 is an excellent car for city driving. The new desing of the car –  functionality, clearness and connectivity are key elements.

For example when you weak up in the morning and notice that you have a winter out there, it is easy to use the pre-heating remotedly from your kitchen – so no need to go out for that. Another key function is the planning of your route. Just plan it by the coffee table and send the driving information to your car. And of course your car is connected to your smartphone like your Apple Watch or Anroid.

Safety is and has been one of the key factors for Volvo. And this new Volvo V40 is also a good example of that. The company has made a target that no one shoud be injured in a new Volvo. And this can be done with the intelligence in the car.

I was very pleased with the city driving with Volvo V40, it acted as I thought the car would do. One development point  still for the designers: noticed that it was not possible to fit my bicycle in the car. Sometimes you just need your sport equipment with you.

This car was a diesel car and countries like the UK, France and maybe China are planning to ban the diesel and petrol cars by 2040. But the questions is will the diesel cars be modified to use for example biodiesel instead in the future? Like algae or the oil from trees? Maybe we see some kind of transit as well.

Anyway, driving a Volvo is always a pleasure, and also in the future.

Lifestyle

The US Smartwatch markets to get new devices

The smartwatch industry seems to be growing in the US. Two companies have launched new devices to consumers in recent weeks. And for example Apple ((AAPL:US) and Nike (NKE:US) have announced their new model called NikeLab, which sales will start next week in the Nike´s webstore.

The Chinese ZTE smartwatch Quartz is available from the third largest operator, T-Mobile in the US. The smartwatch is powered by Android Wear 2 & Qualcomm Wear 2100 platform. According to the company release, consumers can connect virtually when they like and where they like, while the smartwatch is operating all time in the T-Mobile network. This smartwatch is available from the T-Mobile stores from tomorrow on and the pricing is just under 200 dollars.

Verizon (VZ:US), the US telecom company, has launched an exclusive smartwatch called Wear 24. And it can be used apart from the smartphone like the ZTE´s rival. This smartwatch costs 299 dollars and 349,99 dollars without the contract. The Verizon Wear has different colors ranging from stainless steel to rose gold. This model also includes Android Pay.

Verizon released also its first quarter results today.  – Our first-quarter results again demonstrated that customers value a high-quality network experience,” said Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam.

– To build on our loyal customer base and the third-party recognition we have received for network leadership, we extended our wireless and fiber network capabilities, began offering an unlimited pricing option and expanded our opportunities in new markets. We’re executing on strategies to capture future growth and create long-term shareholder value, he said in the statement.

In the financial markets analysts are expecting some kind of M&A deal with for example Comcast, Disney or CBS. Verizon has said it is open to talks with them according to Bloomberg News. If there would be some kind of a merger, it would change the landscape of media and telecom companies in the US totally. The market value of Verizon is about 197 billion dollars.

Business Tech

Hublot to launch smartwatch-straps in October

 

The Swiss luxury watchmaker Hublot, part of the global French luxury group LVMH (MC:FR), is planning to enter the smartwatch industry. According to its CEO Ricardo Guadalupe the company is developing the new fusion in Silicon Valley, California with a software company.

 

  • We are planning to launch it in October this year and the main idea is that we will keep the traditional watch as it is, but we will add the smart part of the watch in the strap. We will operate both with Apple and Android systems, Mr Guadalupe said to pubplus.club during the BaselWorld2017 in Basel, Switzerland.

 

Hublot is one of the few luxury watch companies that has survived the industry downturn with growth figures. According to the company information, Hublot´s revenue growth last year was 4 %, while in the industry the fall was nearly 10 percent.

 

  • The luxury watch industry has suffered from the Chinese economy, but for Hublot this has not been the case, while most of our watches has been bought by customers in Japan, US and Middle East. And our customers value our strategy of fusion, for example we use different kind of materials in our watches, he said.

 

Hublot has developed watches with different kind of material fusions like Carbon and Leather, Titanium and Ceramic and Gold with Textiles (like linen, jeans or also vintage fabric).

 

One of the innovations is also Magic Gold, which is a completely new type of gold developed by Hublot.  An expert fusion of ceramic and liquid gold, 18K Magic Gold must, like all other 18K alloys, be composed of 750 ppm pure gold; but the inclusion of ceramic has made it the world’s first scratch-resistant gold, unlike traditional 18K gold.

 

These innovations and the desire to be near customers through sports and arts have resulted for example the long partnership with Ferrari.

 

Ferrari is celebrating its 70 years this year and Hublot is also launching a new Ferrari watch to celebrate the milestone. This Big Bang Ferrari is one of the Ferrari watches Hublot is making every year. Techframe is a new timepieces presented during Baselworld to tribute to this anniversary and will stand alone next to the Big Bang Ferrari collection.

 

Hublot is based in Nyon, Switzerland and it has 70 boutiques globally. Last year the company opened its New York flagship boutique in the Fifth Avenue.

Päivi Härkönen

 

Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe

Ferrari watches by Hublot

Classic Fusion Italia Independent Watch

The Art of Fusion – Magic Gold by Hublot

The final testing of watches

 

Lifestyle Tech

Apple Watch sales exceeded the first year sales of iPhones

According to Apple (AAPL),  the sales of Apple Watch have exceeded the first year sales of iPhones during their first year after the product launch. The company spokesmen said that they are very optimistic about the smartwatch and its development. Company made their remarks in the conference calls with financial markets at the end of April.

Apple also marked the new colors and styles of the Watches and said that 94 percent of the smartwatch users are very satisfied with the product itself.

The second quarter (ended March 26)  of Apple was the first time when the company noticed the overall smartphone stagnation globally. The CEO Tim Cook pointed out, that they have seen many swifters from another platforms and that they believe the markets to show more growth again. The company said it will also stay active in the capital markets in M&A  with products/services that can enhance their own offering.

Apple Services, like Apple Music and Apple Pay, showed rapid growth during the quarter and the company said that the growth is one million users per week in Asia. The company has sold over one billion devices with iOs operating system.

The company share price closed to 92,72 dollars last Friday in New York,  down 25 percent year on year.

Business Tech

TagHeuer might be it – the wanted smartwatch

TAG_Heuer_Connected_Bundesliga_complications_black_background.jpg

Is this TagHeuer Connected it? The long waited smartwatch for the markets? It surely has many elements that make it a good candidate. One of the most important ones: this operates alone, so you do not need any smartphone nearby. This makes it a perfect partner for sports, and specially outdoors.

This Android smartwatch enables you to have the  digital communications channels you need: notifications and alarms. It is designed to make the best of traditional watch integrated with digital elements powered by dual-core Intel.

The quality and the luxury design are one of the things that position this smartwatch with the high end of this segment, but surely this is one of its kind.

 

Lifestyle Sports

Luxury smartwatch to enter the markets – TAG Heure the latest

During the first months of this year, there has been much speculation about the new smart wearables and if the luxury watch industry will join the trend or not. Now the latest to inform about new wearable smartwatch is the TAG Heure company in co-operation with Google and Intel.

“Swiss watchmaking and Silicon Valley is a marriage of technological innovation with watchmaking credibility. Our collaboration provides a rich host of synergies, forming a win-win partnership, and the potential for our three companies is enormous,” the company said in the press conference in the BaselWorld 2015  last week. According to the company this will mean greater utility and value for people.

The markets are waiting for the Apple´s Golden Smartwatch launch this April, which will give new items for market development.

 

 

Lifestyle Tech