Surprise as sale of luxury goods fares well in Icelandic recession

imagesDemand for luxury items such as jewellery and expensive watches has not diminished in Iceland, despite the financial crisis; in fact these items are selling like never before and there is a long waiting list for Rolex watches which cost more than ISK 1 million (USD 7,650).

Morgunbladid reports that Rolex and Bang & Olufsen flat screen televisions are just two of the products bucking the recession.

Watchmaker and chief Rolex agent in Iceland, Frank Michelsen, says he is surprised at the popularity of Rolex; adding that the brand is outperforming all other luxury brands in the current economic crisis.

There are two major reasons for the continued success of high-value brands such as Rolex: one is that people see them as an investment and many people bought Rolex watches in the winter of 2008-2009 as a protection against the deteriorating value of the Icelandic currency.

The other big reason is foreign tourists taking advantage of Iceland’s tax refund scheme for foreign visitors. Michaelsen recalls that many of his foreign customers are visiting Iceland specifically to buy Rolex watches. There are even cases of people flying to Iceland to make their purchase and then flying home the same day.