Consumers Are Looking For Smartwatches From Their Favorite Luxury Brands


Ines Lazaro | March 18, 2015

On the occasion of Baselworld, Digital Luxury Group releases the latest WorldWatchReport™

On the occasion of Baselworld, Digital Luxury Group shares the five key highlights from the latest WorldWatchReport™

1. Global Interest in Luxury Watches Up 10%

From 2013 to 2014, consumer interest grew by 10%. Asia now accounts for 68% of the global growth of interest, with China still leading the growth (+14% Y/Y). Interest for luxury watch brands increased in all the markets except Brazil, Hong Kong and Thailand.

“Despite the turbulence of the past months – the increase of the Swiss Franc, rumours of overstock and the announcement of the Apple Watch – worldwide consumer interest for luxury watches keeps growing,” explains David Sadigh, Founder & CEO at Digital Luxury Group.

“ Patek Philippe outperformed competition in 2014 ”

2. Patek Philippe enters the Top 5

Patek Philippe outperformed competition in 2014 thanks to a substantial growth in interest from the Chinese market. This led Patek Philippe to gain +0.7% share of interest, to be the fifth most desired brand online – a title previously held by Breitling. Breitling’s weaker performance can be explained by a decrease in search from the Chinese and Brazilian consumers.

“Patek Philippe continues to reinforce the brand’s identity in China, and opened a second boutique in Beijing six months ago. Patek Philippe’s recent decision to decrease its prices in Hong-Kong reflect the importance of selling to the Chinese travelers.” notes David Sadigh.

3. Consumers Looking for Value

As a new addition to the 2015 edition, analysis of prices will be included in the WorldWatchReportTM ongoing. Among the 2015’s edition findings are that luxury consumers show most interest for models between $4,000 and $6,000. However, interest for models in the $4,000-$6,000 price range has decreased.

Omega is the brand that has lost most consumer interest within this price range. Consumer interest especially decreased for the Speedmaster Broad arrow co-axial models.

“ Consumer interest in models priced between $6,000 & $8,000 is rising fastest ”

On the other hand, consumers are showing more and more interest for models priced between $6,000 and $8,000. The brand that benefited the most from the increase in interest for models priced in the $6,000-$8,000 price range is Rolex, particularly with its Oyster Perpetual Submariner models.

Luxury consumers are increasingly expecting value for money. They have become more interested in craftsmanship rather than only aesthetics and most of them are looking for a sense of exclusivity. On top of this, there is a psychological price barrier around $5,000.

Brands that are playing around this price point should be aware that consumers will benchmark their models to Rolex’s entry models and might trade up to more expensive watches if they feel they will get an important increase in long-term value.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, 18ct White Gold

4. White Gold Opportunity

Consumers are interested by white gold models that are priced above the median catalog price. This discrepancy between demand and supply is particularly noticeable for the white gold material, which would suggest that the price could be increased.

“ Apple is the brand that will create the smartwatch market ”

5. Consumers Want Luxury Smartwatches

Except for the peak in interest that followed Apple official announcement in September 2014, interest for the Apple Watch remains in line with interest for competitor brands. However, interestingly, Pebble, Moto 360 and Samsung Gear also experienced a surge of interest in September 2014.

This rise was most likely due to consumers searching for alternatives and comparing specifications. Apple certainly is the brand that will create the smartwatch market itself.

The luxury watch segment has also been impacted by the Apple Watch announcement. Consumers show high interest for Montblanc’s Estrap and also for smartwatches by TAG Heuer, Rolex, Omega and Breitling despite no official launch announced for any of them yet.

“The Apple Watch Edition Collection (starting at $10,000) is an attempt to convey the image of Apple as a true luxury brand but the business reality is different. We anticipate Apple to generate 80% of their sales with Apple Watches priced less than $700, a segment that will have more impact on American and Japanese watchmakers than Swiss ones,” explains David Sadigh.

The leading luxury watch market research since 2004, the WorldWatchReport™ tracks and analyses the desirability of brands across the world.

Based on unbiased information on consumer interest derived from billions of online searches on the world’s top search engines (Google, Bing, Baidu, Yandex), the report analyses 62 luxury watch brands and over 11, 000 models to give brands visibility of their performance against their competitors.