“Our outlook for the Swiss luxury watch industry remains strong”, explains Digital Luxury Group, founder & CEO, David Sadigh. “Consumers from around the world are more and more falling in love with fine watches, especially women. The segment currently represents the largest untapped opportunity, both in Asia and the Americas.”
In a tracking of 62 renowned timepiece brands online, Rolex was the most-searched-for on a global scale, followed by Omega, Tag Heuer, Cartier, Breitling, Patek Philippe, Longines, IWC, Rado and Hublot.
At conglomerate level, interest in Richemont’s brands grew the fastest, increasing by 13.08%, followed by Rolex (12.02%) and Swatch Group (5.87%). Interest in privately owned brands online increased by just 1.49%, as LVMH Watch brands experienced a decline of 5.43%.
“ Consumers from around the world are increasingly falling in love with fine watches, especially women ”
Despite a slowdown in sales in Asia, global consumer demand for luxury watches grew by 5.7%. Global demand was fueled once again by BRIC markets with the highest year-to-year increases in China (up 59.4%), Russia (up 20.4%) and India (up 12.0%).
Historically established mature markets such as Germany (down 9.2%), the United States (down 7.9%), and Japan (down 5.5%), experienced single digit demand decline, whilst Italy (up 8.8%) and the United Kingdom (up 3.1%) saw growth in interest versus 2012.
The Brazilian market fails to deliver amid high expectations (down 2.9%), ahead of an important year for luxury watch brands in the market (World Cup and Olympic Games in 2016). Despite growing international attention and key events driving important brand related investments, the market that predicted to become the next big thing, fails to deliver on its promises.
The Chinese luxury market is not dead: Interest in all luxury watch categories continues to escalate, led by top 3 brands Omega, Cartier and Rolex. The Top 3 models in China were Omega’s Constellation, Cartier’s Ballon Bleu and Omega’s De Ville.
Though sales at home may have declined, Chinese thirst for luxury watches is not showing any signs of slowdown, according to exclusive data shared for the first time by Baidu, China’s leading search engine, for Digital Luxury Group.
According to Baidu Vice President, Liang Zeng, “Watches are part of the fastest growing luxury segments in China right now.”
“ Chinese thirst for luxury watches is not showing any signs of slowdown ”
The Haute Horlogerie category grew the fastest (up 13.16%) thanks to brands such as Glashütte Original (#49, up 35.27%), UlysseNardin (#30, up 35.36%) and Vacheron Constantin (#13, up 34.59%).
The Watch and Jewelry was the second best performing category, growing by +12.95%, thanks to solid performances from Cartier (#4, up 19.00%) and Piaget (#26, up 26.46%).
Exposure to Asia played a crucial role in fueling categories’ growth with up 23.66% and 43.14% of demand respectively.
Top 3 Most-Searched Models in China
Timepieces for women experienced a 7.5% increase in popularity, led by China and Swatch Group brands.
The United States accounts for over one quarter of all demand for ladies’ watches but the category is booming in China, with an increase of +145.5% versus the previous year. India and Russia demonstrated the most growth after China, rising 27.7% and 11.7% respectfully.
Brands benefiting from the highest year-to-year growth were Omega (up 88.3%), Vacheron Constantin (up 66.2%) and Chopard (up 18.9%). The segment however, remains dominated by far by Rolex, accounting for over one quarter of all interest (26.5%).
Haute Horlogerie leads the growth trend (20.88%) thanks to brands such as Vacheron Constantin (up 66.2%). For women, Prestige brands come in second (15.31%) thanks to the contribution of Omega (up 88.3%) and IWC (up 15.97%).
Luxury conglomerates pay more attention to ladies’ watches especially for those with large market shares such as Swatch Group (25.15%, +47.76%), Richemont(19.97%, +13.29%) and Rolex (26.51%, +7.91%).
“ Timepieces for women experienced a 7.5% increase in popularity, led by China ”
Timepiece brands are still bolstering their Facebook audience at a rapid rate, regrouping nearly 69 million fans on the world’s largest social network, growth of 39.27%. Rolex commands the largest audience on the site, with 1.7 million-plus fans. Though brands are beginning to stagnate in average interactions as the engagement rate stabilizes (0.6%).
On Instagram, brands regrouped nearly 3.4 million fans, as the photo-sharing site thoroughly defeated Facebook with nearly 3 times the average engagement rate. Audemars Piguet leads far ahead of other brands on Instagram with an engagement rate of 5.7%.
Celebrating 10 years since its first edition, the WorldWatchReport™ measures and benchmarks over fifty unique indicators to analyse the performance of 60+ luxury watch brands across 20 international markets.
The report identifies and analyses over 1 billion watch-related search queries typed into major global search engines and translates them into the client preferences driving the industry.
For more information about the WorldWatchReport™, please visit www.worldwatchreport.com
To further investigate previous editions of Digital Luxury Group’s WorldWatchReport™, please see historical coverage as follows