- High-end automated watch sales abide to grown, apprenticed by able appeal in Asia and from flush Millennials.
- Traditional affluence watch manufacturers are challenged by new digital-first analog watch brands and smartwatch companies.
- Sales of Swiss quartz watches are annoyed as a result, with a 24 percent abatement over the accomplished bristles years.
- Millennials seek simplicity, personalisation and accuracy back affairs a high-end automated watch.
- Traditional affluence watch manufacturers charge to focus on vintage-inspired architecture and on developing their agenda sales and business capabilities.
Luxury analog watches are authoritative a comeback. Paving the way for the high-end automated watch awakening are none added than the Millennials. However, affluence alarm manufacturers charge to be acquainted that the adolescent bearing of watch buyers are not on the bazaar for “old academy luxury”. Instead, flush Millennials seek simplicity, personalisation and transparency back allotment their affluence timepiece.
As a result, high-end automated watch manufacturers are absorption on new artefact launches and developing agenda sales and business channels to grow. Vintage-inspired designs and online collaborations with influencers and bloggers are decidedly important.
High-end automated watches are as accordant today as they were before. However, affluence watch marketers charge to be acquainted of the generational about-face appear avant-garde luxury. This commodity explores the analogue of avant-garde luxury, with a accurate focus on the acceptation of the chat for Millennial consumers, and how celebrated analog watch brands can advantage agenda to address to a new and adeptness bearing of avant-garde affluence consumers.
Millennials still favour high-end automated watches as a affluence purchase
A contempo analysis from Deloitte begin that Millennials abide awful admiring to high-end Swiss watch brands. The analysis shows that Millennials would absolutely favour an analog affluence alarm over a agenda smartwatch if accustomed CHF 5,000 (USD $5,135) to absorb on a allowance watch.
A cogent majority of Millennials surveyed in China, the UK and Italy would accept a affluence automated watch over the latest absolution of a smartwatch, every year, for the abutting ten years.
The respondents in the Affiliated States were a notable exception, however. An about according admeasurement of Millennials in the US would accept a smartwatch against a automated watch.
Millennials in Asia drive all-around affluence watch sales growth
The latest abstracts appear by the Alliance of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH) shows that all-around affluence watch sales abide to be apprenticed mostly by adolescent consumers in Asia. Hong Kong (fueled by Acreage Chinese tourists) and Ceramics are active appropriately 35.7 per cent and 21.7 per cent of the annual growth.
The Affiliated States, the additional better bazaar for affluence Swiss watches afterwards Hong Kong, additionally benefited from a able 26.3 per cent advance but charcoal 6.6 per cent beneath the 2016 sales levels.
The aforementioned goes for best of the added markets in the top 10 listing.
It’s important to note, however, that while we’re seeing advance about everywhere (with the barring of the UK and Italy), the sales of high-end watches haven’t accomplished the pre-crisis performances of 2016. Abreast from Hong Kong and China, Singapore is the alone added country that enjoys a bashful 4.7 per cent two-year growth. And actuality again, it’s mostly the across Chinese tourists that are active Singapore’s growth.
“A analysis of FH abstracts shows that 12 of Switzerland’s top 30 markets were bottomward in 2017 adjoin a actual anemic 2016, back exports fell 9.9%,” explains Joe Thompson from online wristwatch advertisement Hodinkee. “Among the bottomward markets were bristles of Switzerland’s top 10. Moreover, a allegory of aftermost year’s after-effects adjoin 2015 (also a bottomward year) puts the improvement in perspective. The industry still has a way to go to ability 2015’s performance.”
So while the affluence watch industry is optimistic for the future, absolute sales haven’t absolutely recovered to their pre-crisis levels yet. The appulse of the anti-corruption attack in Ceramics can arguably still be acquainted through the industry.
A new brand of affluence watch startups
Times accept been boxy for the better names in the affluence watch industry. While the high-end automated watch brands saw their sales access in contempo years, this is in the aback of two years of connected decline.
In 2016 in particular, Swiss watch exports fell about 10 percent compared to the antecedent year. Thomas Chauvet, arch of affluence appurtenances disinterestedness analysis at Citigroup, commented that “the actuality that consumers are besmirched for best in affluence agency that the watch class may accept become beneath relevant.“
Modern affluence consumers are absolutely “spoilt for choice” these days. But if annihilation has become irrelevant, it’s the address for “old-school luxury” watch brands rather than the analog movements themselves. In fact, a new brand of affluence analog watch startups has been flourishing, led by Millennial entrepreneurs.
In contempo years, there’s been an access of online-driven analog watch startups founded by Gen Y. The aboriginal in the bold to bang it big was Daniel Wellington, a 33-year-old administrator from Sweden. The brand, sold beneath his name, accustomed a band of minimalist watches aggressive by the aesthetics of Rolex and Piaget timepieces, but application quartz movements and priced beneath $200.
By 2016, the cast had generated $200 actor in revenue, affairs over a actor watches a year, by primarily relying on business through a arrangement of Instagram influencers. Called one of the fastest-growing companies by Inc. in 2018, Daniel Wellington has become a affiche adolescent of the avant-garde affluence watch renaissance and has aggressive a bulk of agnate startup brands, all with a altered aesthetic.
It’s safe to say that there is a movement brewing abaft a new chic of avant-garde affluence analog watches, but it’s alone in a accent that acceptable affluence watch brands accept yet to understand.
So, what is it that these tuned-in Millennial entrepreneurs apperceive about business affluence to their bearing that has resulted in success? The acknowledgment seems to circumduct about simplicity, personalisation, and transparency.
Selling affluence watches to Millennials: 3 important trends
Affluent Millennial consumers are absorbed in purchasing high-end analog timepieces. But their expectations for what makes for an ambrosial artefact differs from the antecedent generations.
We accept articular three important trends that drive the affluence watch acquirement behaviour for Millennial consumers:
Luxury timepieces reflect a admiration for simpler times
The chat usually revolves about agenda addition back it comes to Bearing Y. However, as digitally-embedded as they are, Millennials are additionally more analytic for affairs to unplug and adore simple experiences. That’s area analog watches appear in. It’s a actual admonition of simpler times. In this case, artlessness equates to blockage the time after actuality apparent to abundant emails, texts, and amusing media notifications on their phone.
According to Jennifer Chong, a Millennial administrator and co-founder of Linjer, “As entrepreneurs alive day and night, we were absolutely fatigued every time we looked at our phones to analysis the time because there would be WhatsApp and Facebook notifications, and emails – all these things that basically become to-dos.” That’s what ultimately pushed Jennifer Chong and her co-founder to actualize Linjer, a minimalist watch cast that exudes apple-pie curve and avant-garde luxury.
As abounding affluence watch brands now seek to accommodate cutting-edge technology and agenda capabilities as hero features, the ascent acceptance of analog watches amidst Millennials is a able altercation adjoin over-complicating the elementary assignment of cogent time.
Personalisation becomes a defining appropriate of luxury
Modern affluence for the affluence watch industry additionally seems to centre about customisation, which comes as no abruptness accustomed the different ability of Millennials appear self-expression and individualisation. As a amount of fact, analysis shows that 21 percent of Millennials anon use agreement such as “personalised” and “fun” to call luxury. In comparison, alone 12 percent, of babyish boomers articular affluence with these adjectives.
Modern affluence watch brands, like the Los Angeles-based startup MVMT, focus on business their affluence timepieces as able accessories and abode added amount on anatomy instead of action — a apparent abandonment from the Swiss-made mechanicals boasted about by acceptable affluence watch brands.
Marketing geared appear the desire, abnormally for men, to accept an aspect of antic self-expression as a allotment of their business and accidental attire, MVMT wristwatches embrace the beautiful avant-garde admirer and affection minimalist, glassy architecture with changeable bands and capricious colour faces. MVMT leverages Instagram to advertise its wristwatches in assorted adventuresome backdrops and different experiences. Instead of defining the wearer, avant-garde affluence watches are personalised to the wearer — accompanying them in whatever affairs or chance they choose.
This faculty of personalisation is not absolute to adolescent Millennial startups. High-end affluence watch brands that advertise automated watches at a college amount point, like Nomos Glashuette, are targeting a adolescent bearing and all-embracing a avant-garde estimation of luxury.
Unlike its counterparts, Nomos does accent acceptable craftsmanship, affection and its own audible aesthetics on watchmaking. However, the cast website and Instagram are bare of the force and affluence commonly associated with old-school affluence watches. Instead, it showcases a bright, colourful yet minimalist cast artful that emphasises personalisation, chance and a faculty of fun.
The academic force ahead associated with owning a account affluence watch seems to be beneath ambrosial to this new bearing of consumers. Instead, an altercation can be fabricated that personalisation allows affluence to be a little beneath austere and a tad added fun.
Transparency in avant-garde affluence watch brands is a fast-growing concept
Besides homesickness and personalisation, the akin of accuracy that avant-garde affluence watches are alms is exceptional of in the acceptable affluence watch industry. In fact, the demand for accuracy from Millennials is a active force that we accept apparent appulse abounding affluence industries, as this is a bearing that never takes brands at face amount and is allowed to acceptable forms of aspirational affluence marketing.
Brathwait has capitalised on this growing charge for consumers to dive added and accept the basics and bolts of affluence products. According to the avant-garde affluence watch startup, their wristwatches accept been created as a attribute of the avant-garde man who practices the ancestry of the Gentleman, in honour of Richard Brathwait who was “the aboriginal accurate admirer and poet.”
Following the cipher of “gentlemanly” behaviour, Brathwait spares no detail on the bulk of accumulation and lists the exact dollar bulk associated with anniversary basic on their website. From the covering band and the blanket to the punch and stainless animate case, consumers get simplicity, transparency, and affluence — the three axial cast ethics for Brathwait.
Instead of flashy, aspirational imagery, avant-garde affluence watch brands are application their website to advertise honesty, accuracy and affairs aback the curtains to escape the smoke and mirrors that accept commonly been a basic of affluence watch marketing.
As the broader analogue of affluence changes for the Millennial generation, avant-garde affluence watch brands accept been quick to move abroad from “old-school” displays of affluence and opulence.
Instead, avant-garde affluence watch manufacturers accept accepted agenda and amusing channels to acquaint new credo of luxury: nostalgia, personalisation and transparency. Affluence watch marketers charge to be acquainted of the all-embracing re-definition of this class and subsequently, accede how to advantage agenda and amusing platforms to redefine their own affluence watch cast to address to a new and adeptness bearing of avant-garde affluence purveyors.
Luxury watch sales outlook: new artefact launches and agenda innovations are top of mind
The aforementioned address from Deloitte mentioned aloft begin that the business priorities for high-end watch manufacturers will be centred about new artefact launches and agenda innovations in the advancing years.
Based on an online analysis of added than 60 watch admiral conducted by abstracts accumulating provider Analysis Now, Deloitte articular the cardinal priorities of affluence watch manufacturers.
Luxury watch brands prioritise new articles for Millennial consumers
The addition of new articles charcoal the distinct best important antecedence for affluence watch brands. 64 per cent of the surveyed admiral advised it to be their primary objective. Alarm architecture seems to be the arch aspect of new artefact launches, with 42 per cent of respondents adage that a classical style, rather than sport, will be active affluence watch sales.
The acceptable affluence watch industry has affluence of actual timepieces to draw afflatus from back it comes to classical design. A cardinal of cornerstone models acclaimed their ceremony in 2017 and 2018. The Cartier Tank, for example, angry 100 aftermost year, while the Rolex Sea-Dweller angry 50 and the Patek Philippe Aquanaut acclaimed its 20th anniversary.
Newcomers to the high-end automated Swiss watch industry, such as Montblanc, are additionally bearing vintage-inspired models. Montblanc, who bought the rights to actual watch cast Minerva, acclaimed the 160 years history of the cast with the 1858 collection. The 1858 accumulating was an burning hit afterwards introducing the Geosphere, a vintage-inspired watch with a apple time complication.
Similarly, Tag Heuer reintroduced the Autavia, clearly accepted as the Heuer Ancestry Ability Heuer 02, in 2017. Omega additionally launched its 60th-anniversary leash complications.
To allure adolescent flush shoppers, acceptable affluence watch brands apparent new affordable, entry-level models. The oldest architect of accomplished watches Vacheron Constantin, for example, launched in January 2018 its FiftySix collection, with a abreast and historically aggressive architecture and a added affordable amount point which starts at US$11,700.
Another new artefact development antecedence is the barrage of added high-end analog watches for changeable consumers. New women watches from Richard Mille, Audemars Piguet and alike IWC (which was already acutely positioned as authoritative watches “engineered for men”) were afresh released. Advised and fabricated from blemish with women in mind, these new women models are not artlessly abate versions of men’s watches with adorning options. Affluence watch brands are now added acute to their women’ needs and growing appetence for circuitous automated watches.
Online retail is the additional best important business antecedence for affluence watch brands
The additional best important business antecedence articular in the Analysis Now analysis is the development of new agenda capabilities to acknowledgment the omnichannel expectations from flush Millennial consumers. 55 per cent of the admiral interviewed said that they would more focus on architecture up their online sales platforms and advance their online business campaigns.
The growing accent of agenda for the high-end watch industry comes as no surprise. Our contempo address on the digital transformation of the affluence retail industry already discussed the added addition of agenda to the absolute all-around affluence sales, but additionally the access of agenda on acquirement behaviour.
Even admitting acceptable affluence automated watch manufacturers accept been apathetic to embrace digital, there is no agnosticism that it’s now a analytical average to embrace. Brands that abort to absorb some elements of online assurance with their consumers will anon become extraneous to flush Millennials and the consecutive Bearing Z shoppers.
High-end watch manufacturers are experimenting with altered means to absorb agenda into their business strategy. Tag Heuer, for example, alien in 2017 a bound copy alarm to be awash alone online in the Affiliated States. In 2016, IWC was the aboriginal Swiss affluence watch aggregation to advertise a affiliation with online multi-brand banker Mr Porter. They accept back been followed by added affluence brands from the Richemont Group, such as Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget, and Montblanc.
Interestingly, the Richemont Accumulation appear in January 2018 its intention to acquirement the YNAP Group, buyer of Mr Porter and Net-A-Porter, for USD $3.44 billion.
Other high-end automated watches are exploring partnerships with absolute online publications. This is the case, for example, with TAG Heuer, Acme and Vacheron Constantin (also from the Richemont Group) who are amid abounding added brands now accessible on the Hodinkee online store. This comes afterwards several years of developing bound copy timepieces alone for the site.
The online agreement was a aural success and approved the alertness of affluence watch enthusiasts to buy online from a trusted, abreast source. “The seven bound editions we’ve created with MB&F, Zenith, NOMOS, Vacheron Constantin, Ressence, TAG Heuer, and Laurent Ferrier were all awash appropriate actuality on the Hodinkee Shop,” explains Benjamin Clymer, architect of Hodinkee. “And the after-effects were abominable – for us, and for our partners. […] We were able to advertise 331 cast new watches for over $4 million, online. We awash a $172,000 Paul Newman Daytona via Angel Pay beforehand this year to a applicant in the average of the Affiliated States.”
Overall, 34 per cent of the admiral surveyed by Deloitte apprehend online sales to become the best important sales approach for affluence watches in the abreast future, up from 25 per cent of admiral aloof a year earlier.
Digital business needs to abutment retail efforts for high-end watch brands
As important as the online retail strategy, the agenda business efforts of affluence watch brands will see added abstracts in the abutting bristles years.
While alone 30 per cent of the affluence watch buyers are acceptable to acquirement their alarm online, at atomic 60 per cent of all affluence purchases are in some way afflicted by what consumers apprehend online first. The accent of agenda business is appropriately cogent for watch manufacturers.
Social media and influencer marketing are the two primary arena fields for high-end watch brands to agreement with agenda marketing. Customer surveys from Deloitte begin absolutely that amusing media and bloggers accept the greatest access on a consumer’s accommodation to buy a affluence watch in three out of the six countries surveyed.
Millennials use online as a apparatus for research, a beneath alarming way to accumulate abundant advice about watches compared to high-end boutiques.
The acceptable affluence watch industry is assuredly recognising the analytical role of amusing media and agenda business to win the much-coveted Millennial consumers. Alike the über-traditional Swiss horology abode Patek Philippe abutting Instagram this Advance 2018, which proves that the affluence watchmakers are assuredly alive up to the abeyant of advancement a agenda chat with their (future) flush shoppers.
Times are changing, agenda is ticking
A seamless affiliation of online and offline business campaigns is the best access for affluence watch brands to appoint with their flush Millennial consumers.
The advance in online affluence appurtenances sales is assuredly acceptable high-end watchmakers to footfall up their investments in e-commerce and agenda channels. If the adventure to agenda appliance is still continued for some, acceptable affluence watch brands will be those who advance in strategies to ability new demographics and adolescent consumers online.
- The Deloitte Swiss Watch Industry Abstraction 2017. It’s all about digital, Karine Szegedi, Jules Boudrand and Luc Zobrist. Deloitte. 2017.
- China bribery prosecutions bead for aboriginal time in bristles years, Hudson Lockett, The Banking Times, January 25, 2017.
- Luxury watch industry hopes affliction is abaft it, at last, by Ralph Atkins, The Banking Times, Advance 23, 2017.
- Daniel Wellington AB, Inc.com, 2018.
- The new accent of luxury: how millennials are alteration the appearance of luxury, Ben Bolton and Lisa Quinn, February 2016.
Cover photo by Hodinkee ©