|Omega is a favorite luxury watch brand in China.|
China has surpassed the U.S. as the country with the highest demand for luxury watches based on Internet searches, according to a survey released Wednesday.
China represents 23 percent of all watch-related searches, according to the WorldWatchReport, published by Digital Luxury Group. Gaining the most attention in China is Omega (20.2 percent of searches there), followed by Longines (18.9 percent) and Rolex (10.5 percent).
It is the first since the survey began in 2004 that the U.S. wasn’t number one based on these digital criteria.
In addition to the growth witnessed in China (up 7.8 percentage points), countries such as Japan (3.5 pp), India (0.6 pp), and Russia (0.5 pp) saw significant increases over last year, according to the survey. Most western markets remained stable or even saw market share drops, such as in the U.S. (down 9.2 pp), Germany (-1.7 pp), and Italy (-1 pp).
I don’t understand how exactly this virtual demand translates into real demand much less actual sales, but it no doubts shows that Asian consumers have an extremely strong interest in luxury watches and that luxury watch brands moving into China are doing the right thing.
Rolex and Omega are the top two brands in demand, but the lead that Rolex held over Omega in prior years is narrowing. The difference in demand between the two brands is 2.3 percentage points, against 8.4 in 2009—mainly explained by Omega gaining market share in China while Rolex reinforced its positioning in the stagnant West, according to the study.
Among the more than 1,300 individual watch models tracked by the WorldWatchReport, the top three models are Omega’s Seamaster, Rolex’s Submariner and Rolex’s Daytona, according to the survey.
Global searches related to counterfeits and replicas experienced a decrease, representing 1.85 percent of total luxury watch searches compared to 4.5 percent last year. Among the 40 brands analyzed, the demand for replica sport watches is the highest, with Rolex representing 51 percent of the total demand for counterfeits worldwide, followed by Breitling (9 percent) and TAG Heuer (5.3 percent).
The WorldWatchReport measures and benchmarks more than 50 digital indicators to analyze the performance of 40 luxury watch brands across 20 international markets.