The WorldWatchReport™, the leading market research in the luxury watch industry, evaluates 62 brands at all levels of the luxury spectrum from haute horlogerie to entry-level. As the media often tends to focus on the top end of luxury brands, this article takes an approach focused on the more accessible brands, and in doing so have uncovers insights related to what’s driving the market...
In the report, brands are categorized into five categories. These are: Haute Horlogerie, Watch and Jewelry, Couture, Prestige, and High Range. Thanks to the contribution from several watchmaking industry specialists (media, brands, retailers), the following criteria have been taken into consideration to define these categories: brand positioning, core price range, and the competitive environment.
A zoom in on the High Range category, which features brands such as Baume & Mercier, Bremont, and Ebel, allows us a deeper glimpse at brands that are capturing the public’s attention, and a share of their wallet.
The WorldWatchReport™ uses a methodology by which search volumes are analyzed at an international scale in order to have a transparent and unbiased view of the brands and topics of most interest to luxury watch consumers.
At a global level, interest in the High Range category has increased by 6% in the past year. The top most sought-after brands of the category are Rado, Longines, Montblanc, and Tudor. Searches for this category come primarily from China (29% of all searches), followed by the US (15%) and the UK (9%).
- Most sought-after “High Range” category brands
Rado is the most sought-after brand within the High Range segment of watch brands. Capturing almost a quarter of all searches for brands in this category and growing at a rate of +16% year over year, it’s notably searches for women’s watches in China that are driving the success.
- Jubilé Watch by Rado
While not as well known in Europe or the US, 39% of interest for Rado comes from China, and this interest has been growing at an astonishing +41% year on year. Rado’s success on the Chinese market, explains its number one position in the High Range category.
Jubilé, Diastar (aka Original), and Ceramica models are the most popular worldwide. These models are primarily dedicated to women, which confirms the trend seen recently at global level of growing interest for women watches.
Interest for Longines declined by 6% year on year, this was mainly explained by a decreasing interest from Chinese during the first quarter of the year compared to the same period a year ago. Indeed, interest in China went down by -17% and as China is where most of the demand originates from, this has some important consequences. Longines lost the number one spot on the most sought-after ranking. Now the second most sought-after brand of the category, behind Rado, searches for Longines are still high (22% of all searches).
This clearly shows how important China is for Longines’ business. This makes sense given Longines hold of the market over the past few years. Appealing to Chinese tastes for classic styles with history and a price point to attract the growing middle class, Longines does well despite losing ground to Rado.
Montblanc’s (a Digital Luxury Group client) impressive +42% growth number is explained by a huge increase in the searches for Montblanc originating from China (+128% from last year). Price related queries have also increased at a rate +33% since a year ago, showing a more specific interest in potentially buying.
- Meisterstück Heritage Perpetual Calendar by Montblanc
Interest for specific models, are slightly down from what they were a year ago. The only exception being the Meisterstuck which is up +28% as compared to this period last year.
Tudor’s strong appeal and recent growth within the High Range category (+32% from last year), stems from a strong interest in its Heritage Black Bay model, representing one in four searches for Tudor watches. This iconic model is primarily sought by consumers in the US, Germany, and France.
- Heritage Black Bay by Tudor
Tudor’s strong comeback in the US (+96% y/y) aligns with it’s 2013 re-entry into the US market after ceasing operations in 2004. US searches now account for 20% of all interest online.
Analyzing global interest in the High Range category of watch brands shows that despite what might be said about sales in China, interest is very strong and continually growing. Partnered with a renewed interest in watches for women, opportunities are abound.
Source: Europa Star August - September 2014 Magazine Issue