China Report - The Most Sought-After Luxury Watch Brands by Chinese Consumers

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December 2012

Digital Luxury Group [1] (DLG), the first international company to create luxury industry market intelligence and use this strategic viewpoint to develop unique digital marketing strategies for luxury brands. In a long-time partnership with Europa Star [2], the leading watch industry magazine, and Luxury Society [3], the world’s largest community of luxury executives, DLG unveils an analysis of the most sought-after luxury watch brands in China.

The World Luxury Index™ China: Watches

DLG research analysts, with the support of the Europa Star and Luxury Society teams, uncovered a number of interesting findings:

1. Chinese interest for luxury watches is growing

There is no doubt that the Chinese are still passionate about watches. The analysis of 65 international watch brands shows that every category of luxury watches from “prestige” to “haute horlogerie” has seen an increase in interest comparing the first half of 2012 to the same time period in 2011, with a near 40% increase in aggregate searches. This shows that the attention expressed for luxury watches in China remains strong despite the reported macroeconomic slowdown and the economic uncertainty linked to the political changes.

“The interest continues to grow, but there are indicators that the purchase cycle has slowed,” indicates Florent Bondoux, Head of Strategy and Intelligence at DLG.

2012 DLG - The World Luxury Index™ China - Watch Interest Growing

2. The big players get bigger

In an immature market where awareness of smaller brands is yet to be developed, the lucky winners enjoy a more prevailing dominance. Out of 65 brands analyzed, the top ten most-searched luxury watch brands (Omega, Rolex, Longines, Cartier, Rado, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, IWC, Piaget, Chanel) represent nearly 80% of the search market. Compared to a mature market like France, where the top ten represent 64%, this is quite a difference.

“The three brands that have increased the most in search volume year-over-year (Rolex, Omega, and Cartier) are also the brands that represent the biggest slice of search market share,” adds Bondoux.

2012 DLG - The World Luxury Index™ China - Winners Monopolize

3. Chinese consumers are becoming more educated and sophisticated

When looking at the way consumers (or would-be consumers) search for luxury watches, it is noted that for the first time this year style-related searches (such as “men’s watch” or “classic style”) have surpassed price-related searches.

This is the cause of several factors, from a more educated consumer who is now deciphering between a brand’s different models, to gift-purchase related searches which tend to skew more generic.

“This more sophisticated and educated consumer marks an opportunity for brands to better localize to the needs and desires of the Chinese audience,” concludes Shanghai-based Pablo Mauron, DLG China’s General Manager.

2012 DLG - The World Luxury Index™ China - Style of Greater Interest than Price

A free version of the report is available for download HERE.

For more in-depth analysis on the luxury watch market in China, as well as 19 other international markets, the 2013 WorldWatchReport™ is available for pre-order.