The watch market is a highly established industry. Watches are positioned by style in the various niche markets: causal, sporty, formal, semi-formal and jewelry (Faleiro). The importance of watches as style and fashion has led to the brand of watches being an important attribute of the watch (Faleiro). Many watch companies capitalize on most of all the different niche markets. For example, the Swatch Group which is a major player in all market segments with gross sales in 2002 at 4 billion Swiss francs (swatchgroup.com) They have 14 different watch brands that each position themselves on different fashion and price segments of the market (www.swatch.com). However, Swatch Group has seen a decrease in profits in 2003, reflecting the slowing of growth in mature watch markets (Xinhua). Furthermore, most watches sold in Australia are imported and imports from Swiss watch makers have declined in Australia by 11.4% in recent years (www.fhs.ch).
However, Australian surf companies who produce sporty and casual watches such as Billabong and Ripcurl have seen tremendous growth. The surf industry is a $10 billion industry (Kotdin). Billabong which is Australia's leading surf wear company saw a 9% increase in sales in Australia totaling near $170 million in 2003. Moreover, Billabong operates globally with 30,000 stores selling Billabong products.
SALES 2003 (millions)
Billabong's world market saw an even greater growth of 24% in sales (www.billabongcorporate.com). Their products include women and men's clothing, swimwear, bags and backpacks, hats and toboggans, gloves and boots, wetsuits, surf and body board covers, belts and not to forget, watches.
They continue to expand their brand image with promotional events. They sponsor surfing and snowboarding events worldwide and also sponsor some of the athletes. Billabong has also created the film "Blue Crush" which features a...