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Chopard and the Middle East

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The regional luxury goods market is expected to grow at a rate of five to eight per cent, according to Bain & Company.

LuxuryMena spoke with Karl-Friederich Scheufele, co-president of Chopard, at the brand’s re-opening of its boutique in Dubai Mall yesterday (October 13), to find out more about the brand’s vision for the region.

“The Middle East has always been important to us,” Scheufele explains. “In the last three years, [its significance] has increased quite a bit. We are extremely happy with all of the developments that are happening in the region.”

With the Middle East representing approximately eight to ten per cent of the Swiss brand’s world market, according to Scheufele, the region accounts for a significant portion of its business.

“Dubai is certainly the most important hub for tourists, and therefore we have a big market for both tourists and locals,” explains Scheufele.

“Another very important market for Chopard is Kuwait,” continues Scheufele. “We were introduced to the country more than 30 years ago and, therefore, there is a big following for Chopard there.”

As the country with the fourth highest number of billionaires in the region, at 12, according to Wealth-X and UBS’s 2014 Billionaire Census, Kuwait has become an interesting emerging market for the luxury industry.

The Middle Eastern customer

The Middle Eastern customer tends to be interested in bespoke products, and in owning items that only they can have, personalised just for themselves.

“We have always over the years made some bespoke products for the Middle East,” explains Scheufele. “We have made a number of special series for Dubai in the past, almost every year we launch a Dubai-edition of a specific watch.”

As well as designing products specifically for Dubai, Chopard has also focused on individual customers, according to Scheufele.

The future of the regional retail market

With numerous announcements of major malls in the region launching in the coming years, including Mall of the World, brands will be able to increase their boutique numbers in the region dramatically.

“Every new mall that presents itself – or that is projected – is a potentially interesting place to look at,” states Scheufele. “With developments like Dubai Mall, which are already so impressive, you wonder how you can actually top it.”

With so many construction sites and projects going on in this region, we will continue to be surprised, he concludes.

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