As a luxury watch brand looking to enter or expand in the Chinese market, what are the things you should know? How can you build a successful campaign and avoid costly mistakes? Read on for our tips.
China’s luxury watch Market Outlook
The luxury watch market in China is growing rapidly, and in terms of value is the biggest market in the world. The Chinese luxury watch market is expected to reach US$11.80 Billion by the year 2027 and is worth US$10.36 in 2022. In comparison, the US market for luxury watches is valued at 5.2 billion in 2022;
Chinese consumers are increasingly attracted to high-end watches because of the prestige associated with them. They also see watches as investments, and many are willing to pay high prices for rare and exclusive models. The demand for luxury watches in China is likely to continue to grow in the years ahead.
Leading Luxury Watch Brand in China 2021
What do Chinese Luxury Watch Consumers want and who are they?
The majority of luxury watch consumers in China are men between 25 And 40 years old. In fact, nearly 60% of all luxury watch consumers in China are male. This is partly due to the fact that watches are still seen as a “male accessory” in Chinese culture.
However, it’s also due to the fact that many Chinese men see watches as a status symbol. A nice watch can help you show off your wealth and success, which is something that many Chinese men value highly.
Many luxury watch buyers are also collectors who appreciate the craftsmanship and quality of luxury watches.
China is in Love with Swiss Luxury Watch
China is the largest and fastest growing swiss-watch market in the world. The Swiss watch market in China is worth $2.5 billion!
The Chinese market is dominated by Swiss and German brands, with Rolex being the best-selling brand. In fact, in 2021, 21% of swiss luxury watch export happened in China.
China’s import of luxury swiss watches is increasing on average by +9.1% per year. Even the covid 19 crisis did not impact the market, on the contrary import grew by over 30% during that period
How do you sell a luxury watch brand in China?
Although classic retail through brick-and-mortar store is still the leading sales channel for luxury brands, the adoption of digital channels have become a key point for success in the Chinese market.
- The rise of eCommerce platforms targetting luxury brands (ex: Tmall luxury pavilion)
- Numerous social media and Chinese platforms reach multiple target audiences
Best Sales Channel for your Luxury Watch Brand in China
There are a few different ways to sell luxury watch brands in China, and the best way for your specific brand will depend on a few factors such as your target audience, what types of watches you sell, and your marketing budget.
One option is to work with authorized distributors or retailers who have experience selling luxury watches in China. This can be a good option if you want to leverage their existing networks and relationships with customers in China. However, it can also be more costly than other options, and you’ll need to make sure that the distributors or retailers you work with are reputable and have a good reputation in the market.
Another option is to use online sales channels such as Tmall or JD.com.
Why should you invest in online sales channels for your watch brand in China?
Chinese consumers are increasingly interested in purchasing luxury watches online. This is due to a number of factors, including the fact that online shopping is both convenient and relatively affordable. In addition, Chinese luxury watch buyers often prefer to purchase watches that are not available in their local markets.
Thus, online sales channels are essential for luxury watch brands seeking to sell their products in China. By offering an online shopping experience that is both convenient and affordable, brands can reach a large number of potential buyers who may not have access to their products otherwise. Additionally, by selling watches that are not available in local markets, brands can cater to the specific preferences of Chinese luxury watch buyers.
There are a few things you need to do in order to successfully sell luxury watches online in China:
- Study the market: Understand your positioning in the Chinese luxury watch market, who are your competitors, and who are your consumers.
- Establish yourself as a credible seller. This means having an established website and/or offline retail presence in China.
- Set up a store on a Chinese online marketplace: not only gives you access to a huge consumers base but helps build an online presence and credibility
- Price your watches competitively. Luxury watches can be expensive, but if you price them too high, Chinese consumers will be reluctant to buy them.
- Offer excellent customer service. This is particularly important in China, where online shoppers often expect prompt and responsive customer service.
- Use Chinese payment methods like UnionPay and Alipay. This will make it easier for Chinese consumers to purchase your watches online.
How to promote your luxury watch brand in China?
In order to be successful in the luxury watch market in China, it is necessary to promote the brand aggressively. This is due to a few factors:
- Chinese consumers are highly value-conscious, and there is a large number of counterfeit luxury watches in China. As such, it is important for brands to invest heavily in marketing and branding in order to differentiate their products from the competition.
- Additionally, Chinese consumers are often influenced by social cues when making purchasing decisions, so effective branding can help convince consumers that a particular watch is worth its price tag.
How to engage with Chinese luxury watch consumers?
- Directly through social media & online channel
- Online and Offline events (Live stream/Pop-up store)
- VIP Gifts and privileges
Branding: work your luxury watch brand e-reputation
Branding is really a very important key element to luxury brands. If you want your luxury watch brand to succeed, consumers must look at you like you are reputable.
How a luxury brand works its branding and e-reputation?
- On Chinese Search Engines through SEO and Paid Ads
- Via the press: Press releases and public relations are key for ORM & credibility
- Community Management through Social media & Forums
- Influencers & Kols
Why do Luxury watch brands need Search engine marketing in China?
When it comes to marketing luxury watches in China, search engine marketing (SEM) is a must. Why? Because SEM is one of the most effective ways to reach potential customers in China who are actively searching for what you’re selling.
A Baidu search is in fact the first step of the buying process. To be successful on Chinese search engines you’ll need:
- A website optimized for Chinese search engine
- Keyword research and content strategy
- Content optimized to rank on Baidu
Press releases are key for luxury watch brands in China
There are several reasons why press releases are key for luxury watch brands in China.
- First, they help to create a buzz and generate media interest in the brand.
- Second, they can be an effective way to reach potential customers and create a positive impression of the brand.
- Third, press releases can help to build relationships with journalists and other opinion leaders in China.
- Finally, press releases can be used to drive traffic to the brand’s website or social media pages.
Keep in mind that media coverage is essential for luxury brands looking to build their presence in China. Therefore, it is important to work with experienced public relations professionals who understand how to generate favorable media coverage in the Chinese market.
Community management for luxury brands: how to do it well
Community management is important in China because it can help businesses to connect with their customers on a more personal level. By establishing trust and a rapport with customers, businesses can create a loyal customer base that is likely to return and make additional purchases in the future.
In addition, community management can also help to address customer concerns and resolve any disputes that may arise. This can help to maintain a positive brand image and prevent any negative word-of-mouth marketing from taking place. Overall, community management is an essential tool for businesses operating in China in order to build strong relationships with their customers and protect their reputations.
Here are 2 channels to get started with community management and ORM in China
WeChat: how to use it to attract Chinese luxury watches customers
Chinese consumers were too much harassed by advertising offers and ads, you need to stand out from your competitors. WeChat is not an easy social media where you can promote your brand.
How to use WeChat to spread your luxury watch content in China
- Broadcasting attractive content for your audience, and be careful to no share too much commercial content that will give the impression to your audience that you are pushing to buy.
- You need to communicate around the world with the brand. For example offer content with the history of the watch and how they are manufactured, where they are made, then talk about the country and its culture, give some advice on luxury, for example, “5 Tips to choose watch” and content about elegance and harmony.
- Post your content on strategic groups and influencers through which you will have more visibility.
For luxury watch brands in China, think about KOLs & Weibo
You can use Weibo as a way to promote your luxury watch brand and also broadcast attractive content. But unlike WeChat is that you will create more interactive content with the public, for example by inviting them to organized events and competitions to win prizes.
How to share luxury watch content on Weibo
The idea is to allow users to share content with their contacts by making them like your posts and settle positive feedback. Weibo is also an effective tool for KOL and the use of the image of the most important Web influencers or even a few celebrities.
KOL Marketing key tool for luxury watch brands in China?
Using key opinion leaders (KOLs) as part of your marketing strategy can be a very effective way to reach Chinese consumers.
KOLs are individuals who have a large following on social media or in traditional media and are highly respected by their followers. They can be used to promote your brand or product in a positive light and can help create an emotional connection with potential customers.
KOL marketing can be a powerful way to reach Chinese consumers, but it’s important to do it in a way that feels authentic and natural.
To go further: dare be different
These strategies are made by ALL Luxury watch brands. One way to differentiate would be to choose a place frequented by upscale clientele but less competitive in terms of communication.
O2O: how to keep close contact with your customers
The online to offline revolution is a true success. The difference between online and “offline” appears to be tighter than ever. If you are a luxury watch brand, then you must keep in mind that the store experience for customers is really important.
O2O: creative luxury campaigns always impact
We will illustrate this O2O system through a relevant example with the brand TAG Heuer: Swiss brand had the idea to create a QR code called “treasure hunt” for visitors.
The idea was to play on the interactive side: the QR code was actually a guide for visitors to the exhibition, after the user has arrived at the exhibition, he received keys and if he is lucky, some of these keys are special, because some are USB keys needed to know a little more about the brand.
What about video marketing for luxury brands?
Video in Luxury is a very useful tool. 1000 words are equal to a photo, and 1000 photos are equivalent to a video. As you can see in this video, there is impressive work on special effects which gives the watch this precious and durable appearance. This brand of jewelry gives the feeling that it takes for a high-end clientele.
GMA can help you set your luxury watch brand in China
We are a digital marketing agency helping luxury brands to communicate with the Chinese public.
- We accompany in their digital strategy
- Realize engaging campaigns
- working on the branding of the brand and reputation.