SIHH 2011: The Haute Horlogerie under the WorldWatchReport’s magnifying glass

By MyWatch

• 1 out of 4 search performed online for Haute Horlogerie brands comes from China, which is only second to the US

• Clientele’s preferences towards Haute Horlogerie differ from one country to the other: demand for counterfeit products is more important in Brazil and the US, price-related information in China and India, model names in Western countries, etc.

• IWC and Patek Philippe consolidate their position as “the most searched for Haute Horlogerie brands” with respectively 31.4% (+6.7 points) and 18.8% (+5.3 points) of the global online demand

• With more than 45’000 fans, Audemars Piguet is the most popular Haute Horlogerie brand on Facebook, which remains the largest online community of high-end watch aficionados (150000 fans)

Here are the main trends highlighted by the study for 10 Haute Horlogerie brands (Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Breguet, Franck Muller, Girard-Perregaux, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Zenith) and first uncovered for the Salon International de Haute Horlogerie SIHH 2011:

The importance of China for Haute Horlogerie
25% of online searches related to Haute Horlogerie come from China, which is only second to the United States of America (29%).
Brands that have the largest exposition in China perform best in the “Haute Horlogerie” category, compared to last year: IWC, for which 32% of searches come from China is growing by 6.7 percentage points, Patek Philippe (39%, +5.3) and Vacheron Constantin (27%, +3.9).
Zenith loses 6.2 points of percentage but remains the third most searched for Haute Horlogerie brand, with a global share of 10.2%.

The most popular Haute Horlogerie models
Among the 280 models analyzed in the “Haute Horlogerie” category, the three most popular models remain the same as last year:

Jaeger-LeCoultre “Reverso” (8.8%)
Audemars Piguet “Royal Oak” (6.1%)
IWC “Portuguese” (5%)

This trio represents nearly 20% of the global demand for Haute Horlogerie models, all other models representing 80% of the residual demand. On the one hand, these figures show a strong market fragmentation. On the other hand, they confirm the importance of historical models in the watchmaking landscape – resulting in a constant volume of search for iconic and timeless models.
Three new models now rank in the top 15 most searched for Haute Horlogerie models: IWC “Mark” series, Audemars Piguet “Royal Oak Offshore” and Patek Philippe “Sky Moon”. Other models are losing their spots in the top 15 ranking: Blancpain “Leman” and “Flyback” as well as Jaeger-LeCoultre « Master Compressor ».

Clientele’s preferences around the world
The WorldWatchReport results show that clientele’s preferences towards Haute Horlogerie products differ from one country to the other.
The share of searches related to counterfeit products in Brazil and the USA – representing respectively 5% and 7% – is significantly higher than in other markets where it does not exceed 3%.
Price-related searches are considerably more important in China and India. They account for respectively 8% and 12% of the online demand in those two countries, while they do not represent more than 2% in average in the other markets.
The study results show that the Haute Horlogerie clientele has a thorough knowledge of model and collection names in Europe and in the US – where they represent between 11% and 18% of the demand – thus confirming the status of “Connoisseurs” given to the Western clientele.

A year ago, only five out of the ten Haute Horlogerie brands analyzed in the WorldWatchReport had created an official Facebook page. Today, nine of them are active on the social network and more than 150’000 people “like” official Haute Horlogerie brand pages on Facebook, representing a year-to-year increase of 513%.
Audemars Piguet is the fastest growing Haute Horlogerie brand with more than 45’000 fans – the brand only had 1’100 fans twelve months ago – followed by IWC (38’100 fans) and Zenith (17’750 fans).
Patek Philippe is the only Haute Horlogerie brand that does not have an official presence on Facebook.