Seasonal Watch Trading Cycles: Ebbs & Flows

As a watch trader, you may notice that there are certain months that seem “HOT” and some where you’re struggling to move any watches.  

While part of this certainly has to do with your own ability to sell and trade watches, another larger portion of it has to do with inter-year seasonal cycles of how luxury watch buyers consume.  There are also macro-economic shifts that occur that greatly impact the landscape of the luxury space like COVID-19 this year.  But for the sake of this article, we’re going to focus on what patterns occur in both normal and abnormal years that you can plan for to make more money trading.

So let’s take a look at the year broken down in sections based on the relevance to you.  


Q1 – Jan.  January surprisingly is a huge opportunity to capitalize on watch sales.  This is when you want to have a wide array of options available to the outside market and your customers.  The reason January can be so lucrative is typically this is when Corporations and businesses are giving out annual bonuses.  So you get an influx of people who have extra cash they want to spend on themselves.  It’s also the month after the major gift spending December Holidays, so people have had some time to recover financially, and have traded gifts back in for cash.  Now they want pieces for themselves.

February – Feb. still rides the early year bonus momentum, but hits a transition phase around Valentine’s Day.  Some people are spending money to get gifts (timepieces) for their loved ones, while others are holding onto their money to spend on other V-Day occasions and gifts.  There is a unique ebb & flow to February I’ve found that can be hit or miss.  If you do some pre-Valentines day marketing well beforehand, and then start your buying to stock inventory during and after the 14th, you can play the month out well.

March – Can be a pretty standard month.  If people have done their taxes early and already received a refund, you can bet their thinking about what they can do with it.  However, if they’re still filing their taxes, there may be some hesitation to hold off until they realize their full obligation.  Other than accounting for tax season, March can be lucrative for watch trading and acts more normalized than others.  


Q2 – April:  Similar to March, April is a normal month for watch sales and can bump a bit when tax returns come to fruition.  These usually are standard stock inventory/turn inventory months from my experience, and I don’t see much of a down or upturn unless it’s due to my own personal strategy trading 

May-June: These months leading up to and into summer can be tricky.  If it’s a normal type of year absent of global pandemic, school for kids is starting to wrap up, and the focus of summer whether it’s vacations, camp, sports, family plans, etc tend to take priority over any selfish spending.  Obviously for certain buyers, collectors, and enthusiasts, the watch buying never slows down, but for the standard retail buyer it can.  Use this time to stock your inventory with pieces that are really in demand, and/or have huge profit margins so you can focus on selling them aggressively.  It will help you close the gap profit wise from other months sales numbers.


Q3 – July:  Mid-summer tends to see a spike in watch sales especially around the 4th of July Holiday (if you’re based in the USA).  The buying behaviors and spending are trained to think this way in recent decades.  People want to show off to their friends/neighbors, and “keep up with the Jones’”.  So when there are get-togethers, summer parties, vacations, and/or cook outs, you usually find people wanting to flex.  Also, retail therapy is a great break for many who have been focusing predominantly on their kids and other people besides themselves. 

Aug-Sept:  These ending months of summer tend to be slower than usual.  This is when I try to stock up on inventory in preparation for what is to come.  Because Q4 is a huge consumer spending period of time.  So it’s wise to stock up on pieces while you’re also closing deals in between.


Q4- Oct-Nov:  October and November are months of build up and momentum for the major Holidays of the year for most consumers.  I aim to move pieces quickly in these months that aren’t ones with 20%+ margin in them or aren’t pieces that attract full blown retail buyers.  The ones that do fit this bill stay in my inventory until I get full asking for them.  The reason is, I know they will sell at full premium to those looking for gifts for themselves or their loved ones coming year-end.  It’s always important to prepare for December in these months as consumers start thinking about the Holiday season earlier and earlier.  As I’m sure you know Black Friday is now being advertised in Sept-Oct in order to capture more buyers.  So you need to make moves well before December in order to optimize your rewards in that actual month

Dec: With Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, and the peak of consumer spending taking place in this month, December has the ability to make your year a great one!  Keep in mind some corporate bonuses and Q4 payouts are distributed this month too.  That said, most consumers are done spending by mid December and are ready to relax and take the rest of the year off for the Holidays.  So use the first half of December and even the week up to Xmas as a way to hard press sales, and then spend the remainder of it buying some inventory for the New Year.  


Or you know,… you could also just relax, spend time with family, and reflect on how much money you made this past year trading watches following this seasonal guide as your trusty sidekick! 🙂

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