After enjoying continuous growth search interest and demand over the past years, the luxury watchmaking industry experienced its first substantial decrease in interest since March 2020. In fact, the level of interest has recently reached a low similar to the rate of 2011.
The COVID-19 pandemic stands as the first answer as to why, with consumers shifting more toward psychological and safety needs during the first weeks of the crisis and lockdown. Some brands, however, did manage to stand out from the crowd and succeeded in generating a high search interest in March and April 2020.
Most watchmaking brand interest was in decline, subsequently decreasing search traffic to the site. The overall search volume for the 24 brands analysed decreased by 1 percent in March and April 2020, compared to 2019, according to the latest research from international-based digital marketing agency DLG (Digital Luxury Group).
Brands that were underperforming, compared to the benchmark prior to the crisis, were affected more on average compared to other brands. Vacheron Constantin, Girard Perregaux, Audemars Piguet and Parmigiani are the brands that resisted the most.
Image courtesy: Digital Luxury Group.
The table here displays search volume evolution, compared to March 2019 as a point of reference. A value of 1, close to the red line, indicates a decreasing volume compared to March 2019. The graph only showcases brands experiencing the highest increase or decrease when looking at March to April 2020 compared to 2019, while all 24 brands analysed are available upon request.
While some brands managed to play their cards right and recorded an increase in interest compared to last year, others reached lowest levels of interest of the past year.
The -1% decrease in March and April 2020, compared to 2019, was mainly driven by the following brands:
When looking at search terms responsible for the decrease, all brands were mainly impacted by the pure brand search terms and broader intent. Overall, we have seen encouraging signs that the industry has started to recover interest since the last weeks of April, but it remains below the March 2019 trend line.
The COVID-19 crisis accelerated changes for brands that were late to the digital transformation game. To differentiate themselves, these brands will need to become more customer-centric and market with empathy.
Are you a watchmaking brand that wants to know more about how you could increase your search interest and improve your search experience? Please reach out to Digital Luxury Group regarding any questions or more detailed data about your brand.
Brands included in the benchmark: Audemars Piguet, Baume Et Mercier, Breitling, Bulgari, Carl F Bucherer, Cartier, Chopard, Girard Perregaux, Hublot, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Lange & Söhne, Montblanc, Omega, Panerai, Parmigiani Fleurier, Patek Philippe, Piaget, Roger Dubuis, Rolex, Tag Heuer, Ulysse Nardin, Vacheron Constantin, Van Cleef & Arpels.
Cover image credit: Girard Perregaux.