Under the title, SIHH: Haute Horlogerie under the WorldWatchReport’s Magnifying Glass, IC-Agency gives a glimpse of its sixth market study, which “deciphers queries entered into search engines across the Internet from millions of prospects for 25 luxury watch brands.” The report now covers ten key markets for the watch sector as this year, and for the first time, the BRIC markets (Brazil, Russia, India, China) join France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. For the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), IC-Agency has published the main conclusions of its WorldWatchReport, which takes in ten Fine Watch brands, namely Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Breguet, Girard-Perregaux, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Franck Muller and Zenith.
The Reverso by Jaeger-LeCoultre is number one
The first surprise revelation is that “global search volume for the ten Haute Horlogerie brands increased 14% compared with 2008. This encouraging sign confirms interest in exclusive products with an average value of over CHF 15,000 (€10,200), despite a difficult economic context. Blancpain, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Audemars Piguet performed best in the Haute Horlogerie category with strong online increases of 115%, 114% and 81%. The biggest slowdown concerned Zenith (-51%) although the brand remains the second most searched-for name with 16.3% of search volume, behind IWC (24.7%).”
Geographically speaking, the United States still ranks first for the number of online searches for nine of the ten brands under review, outranked only by the United Kingdom for Franck Muller. The US also comes first for searches for women’s jewellery watches by Cartier, Chopard and Piaget, although Italy holds on to its top spot for Bulgari. Of the 120 Fine Watch models surveyed, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso ranks number one, followed by the Royal Oak by Audemars Piguet and IWC’s Portugaise. Of the ten most searched-for models, five were by IWC with the Aquatimer (4th), Pilote (5th), Ingenieur (9th) and Portofino (10th) joining the Portugaise. Zenith’s El Primero and Defy models took sixth and seventh place, followed by Blancpain’s Leman.
Audemars Piguet’s Indian ambassador is a hit
“Adding India to the study’s scope resulted in Audemars Piguet and Sachin Tendulkar leading the ranking of the most searched-for Haute Horlogerie brand ambassadors. More than one out of two searches (55%) were for the famous Indian cricketer, pushing the 2008 number one Jaeger-LeCoultre and actress Diane Kruger to second place.” Demand from the four BRIC markets accounted for 12% of global searches for prestige watch brands, with China taking pole position ahead of Brazil, Russia and India. Patek Philippe, Zenith and IWC are the three “most wanted” brands in these markets. All segments taken together, Omega, Rolex and TAG Heuer lead the field, ahead of Cartier, Rado and Longines.
The Facebook social networking site continues to make its presence felt. “More than 300,000 people have joined the Fan Pages of the survey’s 25 watch brands, a 440% increase in one year. Among the biggest increases, Hublot is the clear winner with more than 56,000 fans on the “Hublot-Genève” Page at end 2009, compared with 1,700 six months earlier. Next come Cartier and TAG Heuer with 44,500 and 36,600 fans respectively. Among Haute Horlogerie brands, the most popular Pages are IWC, Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin with 8,300, 5,600 and 3,300 fans,” the study concludes.