Photo: John Philip Green via Flickr
Luxury watches are not just functional wristwear–they’re works of art with hundreds of years of technology packed inside.Consumers’ tastes and shopping preferences for watches are evolving around the globe.
Market research company Digital Luxury Group has just released its annual report on the worldwide market for high-end watches, looking at 15 of the world’s biggest haute timepiece brands ahead of Baselworld, the upcoming international watch and jewelry show in Switzerland.
The report is based on more than a billion consumer searches for luxury watches on search engines including Google, Bing and Baidu.
For the first time in 2011, demand for luxury watches was higher in China than in the US, based on internet search market share.
Within China, more than half of demand for luxury timepieces comes from first- and second-tier coastal cities with high-end shopping streets, like Beijing and Shanghai.
Heritage brands like Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin are more popular with traditional clients from Beijing, while IWC attracts a younger, trendier, urban audience.
IWC, Patek Philippe and Zenith remained the 3 most popular luxury watch plans, together gathering 50% of worldwide market share.
Small brands like Breguet, Franck Muller and Blancpain are losing their global market share to bigger names, like Jaeger-LeCoultre, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet.
Meanwhile, 3 of the 5 most searched brands—IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Vacheron Constantin—belong to the Richemont Group.
Patek Philippe and the Richemont brands are particularly popular in Asia, while Europe's preferred brands include A. Lange & Söhne, Richard Mille, Zenith, Ulysse Nardin and Jaquet Droz.
Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak beat out Jaeger-LeCoultre's Reverso as the most-searched model, due to the Royal Oak's growing popularity in the US, UK and Italy.
Nearly 17% of global searches for luxury watches come from mobile phones. In Japan, that figure is almost 50%.
Around 500,000 watch lovers are connected to their favourite brands on Facebook. IWC dominates the social media network, with over 220,000 and a community engagement level of around .41%.
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