Watches are told to be status and lifestyle symbols in many cultures and countries. China is one of the many places that considers timepieces as one of the most important luxury elements. This theory is proven by the numbers according to which watches made up 50% of total spending on luxury products between 2014 and 2016 by the Chinese. However, most of the purchases are made abroad.
The purchasing power of the Chinese has been constantly increasing in the past years and it continuous to grow abroad, mostly in Europe.
The Chinese used to purchase many luxury products in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. In previous years, they bought one-third of their watches in these three locations. However, this number has fallen to 23% and the purchases made outside of mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan represent 45% in total.
One of the reasons for this increasing number is because less and less countries now require a visa, which facilitates travels. The other reason is due to a new phenomenon called “dai gou”. Dai gou is kind of “businessman” who travels around the world visiting boutiques and taking pictures of the products which are then sent to the client who approves the purchase in return for a commission.
To answer the question of why Chinese consumers choose to purchase watches abroad, there are a few possibilities: lower price, product authenticity, a broader selection of products, and better post- purchase service.
Today, E-commerce is also a great facility used by an increasing number of people. However, 84% of Chinese still prefer doing their purchases in boutiques, because of a better guarantee of quality and the service they offer.
“The market of the future depends on a watch that goes beyond telling the time: one that is chosen either as a status symbol – which is to say, a traditional watch – or for the data that it can provide, which is the case of a connected watch. To survive, the watch market must provide symbolism… or technology.”
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