Luxury Watch Industry - Statistics & Facts

Precision, quality, luxury, design, perfect workmanship, tradition, coupled with high tech: the luxury watch industry combines traditional Swiss values in a traditional Swiss product, and as a highly export-driven sector, it conveys these values to the wider world. The global watch market is dominated by only a handful of countries, the clear leaders being Switzerland and China. China is the world's biggest watch producer in terms of volume. However, Chinese watches are mainly geared towards the lower end of the price range. In the luxury segment, on the other hand, Switzerland enjoys a position of near-monopoly.


Not only is the watch industry a valuable ambassador for Switzerland’s industrial prowess, it also constitutes a major pillar of the country’s economy – the watch industry has proven hugely significant to a number of the country's regions. The profile of the Swiss watch industry is that of a fully developed cluster in which the individual players – from supplier, through brand, to retailer – work together like clockwork. Rolex is considered to be the most valuable Swiss watch brand in the world, with a brand value of approximately 7.4 billion Swiss Francs (CHF) in 2016.

The luxury watch industry has staged an impressive rebound from the watch crisis. Thanks to a decision to refocus on high-end products (in particular mechanical watches), the luxury watch industry benefited from a boom in demand for global luxury goods that began in the mid-1990s. In particular, the luxury watch industry owes its success to its foresight in actively targeting growth in emerging markets. Thanks to rising incomes and growing prosperity, other emerging-market countries besides China will offer substantial growth opportunities for the watch industry.

In recent years, many luxury watch manufacturers have altered their marketing and sales techniques to adapt to the changing times. They seem to understand the importance of using social media to market their product. In addition, a survey of watch company executives found that nearly 70 percent will be focusing their efforts on making sales through their own online e-boutique.

Although luxury watches are highly valued for their craftsmanship and prestige, only a small share of U.S. consumers purchased them in 2017. Even among affluent households, the vast majority reported spending five hundred dollars or less on luxury watches per year, which covers only a fraction of the retail price of a luxury watch. Among the younger generations, the appeal of a fine luxury watch has not diminished. In a 2017 survey, approximately 70 percent of Millennials worldwide reported owning at least one traditional analogue watch. Even if they were not able to afford a luxury watch, most still showed a preference for luxury watches over smartwatches.

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