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Omega and Rolex are the most sought-after brands online

Omega and Rolex are the most sought-after brands online

Wednesday, 20 May 2009
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Christophe Roulet
Editor-in-chief, HH Journal

“The desire to learn is the key to understanding.”

“Thirty years in journalism are a powerful stimulant for curiosity”.

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4 min read

Based on over 300 million searches using various search engines, the World Watch Report 2009, published by IC-Agency, ranks Europe as the number-one market for watches, followed by the United States.

IC-Agency, a specialist in digital marketing, has extended the scope of its fifth World Watch Report*. Seven markets and 25 brands, versus 12 previously, now come under scrutiny, and more than 300 million search intentions, using various search engines, were analysed to produce the report.

© IC-Agency Source: World Watch Report 2009
© IC-Agency Source: World Watch Report 2009
Famous faces

The first finding, and probably the most eagerly anticipated among professionals, is that Omega and Rolex head the list of most searched-for models online: Omega’s Seamaster (7.8%) and Speedmaster (4.7%) come first and second respectively, ahead of the Daytona (4.3%). A newcomer to the ranking, TAG Heuer enters the list at tenth place with its Link watch. According to IC-Agency, brand ambassadors are not entirely without influence on this ranking. The report reveals that Omega ambassador Michael Phelps, who won no fewer than eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, beating Mark Spitz’s legendary record, takes pole position among watchmaking’s personalities with 17% of internet searches. Nor are TAG Heuer’s ambassadors to be taken lightly: golfer Tiger Woods (14.1%), Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan (7.4%), Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton (3.7%) and actor Leonardo DiCaprio (3.2%) all rank among the top ten “most wanted” celebrities to fly a brand’s colours. Note that Audrey Hepburn (5.2%) is still working her magic, much to Longine’s delight.

© IC-Agency Source: World Watch Report 2009
© IC-Agency Source: World Watch Report 2009

Geographically speaking, while Europe as a whole (44.2%) represents the largest market share for the countries under review, with the United Kingdom (14.6%) coming in just ahead of Germany (12.1%), tailed by Italy (9.6%) and France (7.7%), the United States is the top-ranking individual market with 42.8% of total searches. Asia (13.2%) still lags behind, although it is worth noting that China (7.4%) has overtaken Japan (5.8%) in the number of searches for watch brands, even though internet penetration there is just 22% compared with 74% in the Land of the Rising Sun. All the pointers are that Swiss watch manufacturers are beginning to register on the Chinese radar, particularly as 77% of searches in that market were for brands rather than specific models.

© IC-Agency Source: World Watch Report 2009
© IC-Agency Source: World Watch Report 2009
Social networks make their mark

One welcome fact to emerge from the report is that only 6% of searches were for counterfeit products. The cloud around this silver lining is that the vast majority of these searches (66%) were in the United States, a 6% increase. A sign of the recession that is shaking the US economy? There are no surprises as to which brands are most concerned: with 80% of searches, Rolex is clearly the most popular brand among fans of fakes, the remaining 20% being shared among the 24 other brands in the survey.

For the first time this year, IC-Agency has ventured into the world of social networks in the form of Facebook (180 million members) and YouTube (100 million videos viewed per month). Conclusion: Cartier reigns on Facebook with 30,000 fans, ahead of TAG Heuer (18,500), Rolex (17,500), Bulgari (14,300) and Breitling (13,600). Over at YouTube, the most-viewed videos are now those posted by fans of the brands. With 38% of downloads, they ensure a level of visibility which the brands’ own commercial (29%) and event (26%) videos can no longer match. Watch companies that are still wary of the internet should perhaps look twice at these new media, which are an essential part of young generations’ daily lives.

*World Watch Report 2009
Report based on over 300 million internet searches
Covers the seven major export markets for Swiss watches: China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and United States.
Includes 25 brands divided into four categories:
Haute Horlogerie: Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Breguet, Franck Muller, Girard-Perregaux, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Zenith
Jewellery: Bulgari, Cartier, Chopard, Piaget
Prestige: Breitling, Hublot, Omega, Rolex, Tag Heuer
High end: Baume & Mercier, Ebel, Longines, Montblanc, Raymond Weil, Rado
The most popular brands worldwide and per market
The most popular models worldwide and per market
Search volumes for replica watches per brand, market and category
Fastest-growing brands and markets
Comparison and analysis per brand, market and category
Impact of social network media (Facebook and YouTube)
Graphics illustrating the main trends and recommendations

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