China’s demand for luxury Swiss watches remains the highest in the world, a recent study reports.
Last year, China showed the greatest year-on-year growth in demand for luxury watches, according to the latest edition of WorldWatchReport from Digital Luxury. The rate was 59.4 percent, over 10 times the 5.7 percent average worldwide.
The study surveyed the performance of 62 luxury watch brands across 20 markets by monitoring queries on online search engines. Chinese-language search engine Baidu found that consumer interest remained high, despite Beijing’s recent push against extravagance.
David Sadigh, founder and chief executive of Digital Luxury, was encouraged by the findings.
“Our outlook for the Swiss luxury watch industry remains strong,” Sadigh told South China Morning Post. He added that demand for the watches among female consumers “represents the largest untapped opportunity, both in Asia and the Americas.” Demand for ladies’ watches in China rose 145.5 percent last year from 2012.
Mainland China now represents the third largest market in the world for Swiss watches, after Hong Kong and the United States, according to a report by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry released last month. Although the industry’s exports to China decreased by 12.5 percent year-on-year to 1.45 billion Swiss francs (HK$12.7 billion), the market remains stable.
Rolex, Cartier, and Omega are some of the brands that showed up frequently in online searches. In addition, the Swiss luxury goods firm Richemont, which “owns a portfolio of fine watch brands,” has shown the fastest growth in online interest, at 13 percent.
The growth of China’s e-commerce market, and its growing reliance on mobile devices, has a lot to do with the boom. According to the China Internet Network Information Center, the number of mainland internet users who surf the Web on their phones reached 500 million in 2013. Mobile searches grew 120.2 percent year-on-year and accounted for 39.1 percent of Baidu’s searches for luxury watches.
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