China has a rich history of watchmaking, and over the years, it has become a prominent player in the global watch industry. Chinese watch brands have gained recognition for their craftsmanship, innovative designs, and affordable prices. Some well-known Chinese watch brands include Seagull, FIYTA, Rossini, and Ebohr. These brands offer a wide range of watches, from traditional mechanical timepieces to modern smartwatches.
These Chinese watch brands have made significant strides in recent years, gaining international recognition and expanding their presence in global markets.
But, despite a big choice of watch local brands in Mainland China, there is a big demand for luxury watches, especially from new customers from younger generations, that associate foreign brands (especially Swiss watches) with the highest quality. In this article, we will show you, how to market your watch brand to Chinese consumers.
The Watch Market in China
As the world’s second-largest economy, China is a key market to watch for any business. And when it comes to the fashion industry, China is becoming an increasingly important player. In recent years, Chinese consumers have developed a strong taste for luxury brands, and they only expected this demand to grow in the coming years.
So if you’re looking to expand your fashion business into the luxury watch industry in China, now is definitely the time to do it! Here are some tips on how to make your move into the Chinese market successful.
However, it has been noticed that Chinese luxury consumers have already collected all famous high-end brands and in this sense, nowadays they are more curious about new brands that are reflecting new fashionable designs. In addition, Chinese fashionistas are more willing to find watches that will express their uniqueness.
Revenue in the Watches segment amounts to US$17.80 billion in 2023. The market is expected to grow annually by 5.97% (CAGR 2023-2026). By 2023, 67% of sales in the Watches segment will be attributable to Luxury goods.
Luxury Watches in China
Luxury watches have gained immense popularity in China in recent years. With a booming economy and a growing middle class, Chinese consumers are increasingly seeking out high-end timepieces as a symbol of status and prestige. The demand for luxury watches has led to the establishment of numerous boutiques and authorized dealers across the country, offering a wide range of prestigious brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet.
Chinese consumers are known for their appreciation of craftsmanship and attention to detail, making luxury watches a desirable accessory for both men and women. Whether it’s for personal use or as a gift, luxury watches continue to make a statement in China’s ever-evolving fashion and luxury market.
Watches as an expression of uniqueness
Nowadays Chinese mainland consumers have developed their own tastes and become more demanding in terms of watches design.
For many Chinese consumers, watches are something more than accessory, it is valued as something that is expressing their unique personality and their status, which in Chinese society is very important.
For Chinese watches consumers, the meaning of “good watches” is not always coming in alignment with “very expensive” or “famous model”.
The main factor for Chinese consumers that is luring them to purchase watches is a distinctive and trendy design. According to the HKTDC survey, it was shown that 66 % of consumers in China are more attracted by the unique design and style of watches.
Trendy & outstanding design matters
Nowadays Chinese mainland consumers have developed their own tastes and become more demanding in terms of watches design. Watches nowadays in China are valued as specialist consumer goods that may offer trendy and fashionable designs in addition to brand value.
There are three main categories of watches such as work (business) watches, casual fashionable watches, and sports watches.
Basically, it is vital to understand that Chinese consumers usually as for business watches they wear them work or attend important meetings, however, they might also wear them for leisure activities. When it comes to business watches, especially for male consumers they became a great expression of their status and a symbol of high income.
While the other half of Chinese consumers responded that “wearing a watch would give an impression of maturity, stability, and punctuality to others”, and also “wearing a watch would give a better image on business occasions”
Smartwatches are also quite demanded by Chinese consumers, since they offer built-in intelligent systems and involve various functions such as voice calls, receiving and sending messages and emails, and playing music via Bluetooth.
What about casual fashionable watches
Fashionably designed watches are highly demanded by Chinese female and male consumers. For the Chinese, it is more important to choose uniquely designed watches or watches that have a great story to tell and share with others.
According to HKTDC Research, more than 50% of consumers in China are willing to wear watches “to bring out one’s personal taste and image”. But that’s not the only point, trendy watches are usually used for ornamental purposes like necklaces and bracelets. They are usually might be worn by female Chinese consumers to match business outfits.
The main factor for Chinese consumers that is luring them to purchase watches is its outstanding and trendy design. According to the HKTDC survey, it was shown that 66 % of consumers in China are more attracted by the unique design and style of watches.
In this sense, it is vital to stress that when it comes to gender purchasing decision-making, female Chinese consumers are more interested and concerned about style and design, while male Chinese consumers are more willing to go for brands.
Chinese Market: Tips on How to Promote Your Watch Brand
WeChat is a great tool
WeChat is a great tool for Chinese market entry, it’s a strong Launchpad for quality content it hit 1 billion monthly active daily users in March 2018. It’s China’s number one multi-purpose social platform, which means that having a presence here and engaging with your target is very important.
You can create an official account for communications, build a following and push notifications to followers. It also allows for ease of payment via their Wallet service as well as a host of other functions from gaming, to e-commerce stores, location services, dating & even taxi-hailing. WeChat packs a punch for any new business in China.
The best piece of advice for WeChat is simply, to keep it social. This is a conversational platform and the Chinese expect (more so than we do in the west) to have personal interactions with brands on platforms such as WeChat, businesses are seen more as individuals so ensure you closely engage with users.
Little Red Book (XiaoHongShu)
Little Red Book (XiaoHongShu) is a new social media platform in China, which grows rapidly in China these days. Little Red Book reflects a great combination of similar tools of Tmall and Weibo platforms, which makes this app a generator for word-of-mouth marketing. The whole content is created by users which makes this app more transparent.
Basically, the Little Red Book app provides three main features for consumers such as trust, community, and convenience. In this sense, Little red Book is a great platform that has lots of advantages for both consumers and suppliers.
All in all, the app is a great and reliable option, since it has an E-Commerce platform for users to purchase products in the same app directly from the Official Brand online store on Little Red Book.
Due to the fact that Chinese consumers are very selective when it comes to the quality and authenticity of the Brand. In this sense, users do not need to worry about authenticity.
Weibo, China’s Twitter
Weibo is China’s most open social network with users able to see posts from anyone. It is a microblogging service like Twitter.
It was thought that it was on the edge of failure a number of years ago but with Alibaba’s backing, this nifty platform looks set to be a big player in ‘social commerce’ when it comes to supporting online sales via social media marketing efforts. A big trend to watch.
Many online influencers and celebrities are active on Weibo with its open news feed and active, engaged communities. Quality content is the bedrock of any social media campaign, with external links, images, and text ‘call to action’ a priority if you want to heighten Chinese consumer engagement.
Key Opinion Leaders, the Chinese influencers
Key opinion leaders (KOLs) are established online figures that have gathered large followings around themselves. They are highly influential and can be recruited to represent a business or brand. Different KOLs allow you to tap into specific communities and demographics, providing quality targeted exposure.
The best approach for this is to use a number simultaneously on different platforms to post about the brand, this has an ‘echo chamber effect and supports the legitimacy of the brand if numerous figures are posted.
Ensure posts and comments by KOLs are closely monitored, merely posting is not enough, you need to fuel conversation and respond to queries. KOLs do not act as customer service representatives, you a simply using their service to reach their community and influence them via their reputation.
The revolution from online to offline knows a certain success. The space between the online gateway and a real and physical store offline seems to be tighter than ever. If you are a luxury watch brand then you have to keep in mind that the in-store experience for the customer is really important.
We will illustrate the O2O system through a relevant example with the TAG Heuer brand: the Swiss watchmaker had the idea to create a QR code called “treasure hunt” for visitors; the idea was to play on an interactive approach.
The QR code was actually a guideline at the exhibition, after users arrived at the exhibition, they would receive keys. Some of those keys were special because they were in flash drive format where you could learn more about the brand.
The strategy should be focused on Chinese keywords
The best method is not to attract an audience to you, rather you go to them. There is a wealth of information available about Chinese consumers; from searching information, social media profiles, and data listings.
The way to generate the most qualified traffic is to focus on keywords, prospects are already seeking relevant information to your offering, you simply need to ensure you are highly visible to them, the more qualified the traffic is the better the conversion.
Presence on Chinese e-commerce platforms
To enter the e-commerce market of China International brands must learn the policies of following digital platforms.
TMALL or TMALL Global
TMALL holds the biggest market share in the e-commerce market of China at 57%. It mainly focuses on premium brands.
This characteristic makes TMALL the most expensive e-commerce marketplace in China. It provides an opportunity for international brands to open exclusive online stores and directly sell products to Chinese consumers without being physically present in China.
TMALL has an invitation-only policy where only qualified international brands can either be invited to join or can apply through a local marketing agency. For more information on how to sell International products through TMALL, please contact a local digital marketing agency.
E-COMMERCE via JD.COM
JD is China’s largest online direct sales company. It relatively has less market share than TMALL.com. International companies can open individual online stores on JD.com and brands are permitted to import food, beverages, apparel, and shoes from overseas.
JD’s cross-border service enables suppliers to sell directly to Chinese consumers without a local presence.
We are your local partner in China! Contact us!
After analyzing the watch market in China, it can be concluded that the watch industry in the country is thriving. China has seen a significant increase in the demand for watches, both domestically and internationally.
Chinese watch brands have gained popularity and recognition for their quality craftsmanship, innovative designs, and competitive pricing. Some notable Chinese watch brands include Seagull, FIYTA, and Beijing Watch Factory. These brands have successfully positioned themselves in the market, offering a wide range of watches to cater to different consumer preferences.
The increasing demand, along with the rise of e-commerce, has created a favorable environment for the growth of the watch market in China.
We are a China-based marketing agency offering cost-effective solutions to foreign brands interested in tapping into the Chinese market. Our team of Chinese and foreign experts has the experience and know-how needed to succeed in this lucrative, yet complicated market.
Gentlemen Marketing Agency offers many digital marketing and e-commerce solutions, such as web design, e-commerce and social media marketing strategies, localization, market research, KOL marketing, and more.
Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment or contact us, so that we can schedule a free consultation with one of our experts, that will learn about your brand and present you the best solutions for your China market strategy.