Luxury Society & Digital Luxury Group present the second search analysis conducted on luxury timepiece brands in China

The Chinese watch and jewellery industry is worth $4 billion alone, according to the Financial Times. China’s overseas buyers spend around €11,000 on each shopping trip to places like Europe, Singapore, and Hong Kong (WSJ). As a result, pre-purchase research is conducted online in China long prior to travel.

With this in mind, Digital Luxury Group and Luxury Society are proud to announce the launch of the World Luxury Index™ China: Watches, in partnership with Europa Star.

The ranking and analysis of the most sought-after luxury timepiece brands in China is based on the unbiased search inputs coming from Google and Baidu, and examines 1500+ watch models, through 14 search intentions.


 A near 40% increase in searches shows that the interest for luxury watches in China remains strong despite a macroeconomic slowdown 


When comparing our findings from H12011 to H12012, a near 40% increase in searches shows that the interest for luxury watches in China remains strong despite a macroeconomic slowdown, and concerns surrounding gifting in a government crackdown on corruption.

The level of interest in Prestige category watches is booming, whilst others show growth but at a more conservative level. Interest in Prestige brands – Breitling, Hublot, Omega, Panerai, Rolex and TAG Heuer – increased by over 70%.



© Digital Luxury Group


Interest Spreads Geographically

After enjoying years of success in the major coastal cities of Shanghai, Beijing, etc., the big watch brands are making a play in inland China, where the economy is booming and luxury consumption is waking up.

Interest from the west is confirmed, as the region showing the fastest growth in searches for luxury watches. A typical first‑time luxury watch purchase is of a locally well-­established brand, thus benefiting the biggest players with large local budgets.

A retail presence in the coastal cities is not sufficient anymore and as a consequence, smaller brands might be penalised for not being able to develop their retail network in the middle and west region as big brands nowadays do.



© Digital Luxury Group


Style Over Price

Style-related searches jump over price as the biggest search motivation this year. The boom in style-related searches can be attributed to:

- A more specific interest for watch styles is expressed once consumers have accumulated sufficient awareness of brands.
- Gift purchase patterns influence search motivations toward more generic and style-oriented information.
- A lack of localised watch model names, which leads to styles being searched as a substitute.



© Digital Luxury Group


Localisation is Key

Promoting watch models and educating consumers in a locally relevant way is needed in order to build up a true relationship with the Chinese market.

Omega’s De Ville model has achieved enormous success in China. Its delicately translated Chinese name might also have been one important contributor.

The Chinese translation of De Ville, with pronunciation close to the original one means ‘Flying Butterfly’ in Chinese, is an easy-to-remember, yet extremely elegant name for the local audience.

Adapting the product offering or packaging, by understanding local preferences is a must. “Couples watches” or “lovers watches,” are a popular gift option for wedding, anniversaries, or Valentine’s Day. This includes a set of two matching watches, a His & Hers.



The World Luxury Index is an on-going international ranking and analysis of the most searched-for brands within the luxury industry, covering over 400 brands within six key segments, launched in partnership between Digital Luxury Group & Luxury Society. Please see previous editions below:

- The Most Searched For American Fashion Brands in the World

- The Most Searched For Luxury Hotel Brands in China
- The Most Searched For Handbag Brands in the World



The full report is available to download from: More detailed data and analysis on a particular segment or brand is available upon request.

For any further enquiries regarding the index or research, please contact Eric Roditi of Digital Luxury Group,


About the author

Sophie Doran

Creative Strategist, Digital

Sophie Doran is currently Senior Creative Strategist, Digital at Karla Otto. Prior to this role, she was the Paris-based editor-in-chief of Luxury Society.

Prior to joining Luxury Society, Sophie completed her MBA in Melbourne, Australia, with a focus on luxury brand dynamics and leadership, whilst simultaneously working in management roles for several luxury retailers.

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