There is no denying that 2020 is going to be a strange year for all industries and the luxury watch market is going to be no different. COVID-19 has taken a toll on economies around the world and will likely have more long-term effects which will not make themselves known until the immediate threat of the pandemic has passed.

Over the last three years, After Digital has worked with luxury watch brands such as Farer, Christopher Ward, and Formex Swiss Watches; now becoming specialists in this area. We have taken the time to compile a Luxury Watch Industry Market Insights Report, with the aim to provide you with an overview of the market, key trends within the industry, current economic considerations, financial confidence amongst consumers, and to give our recommendations to combat market challenges and drive sales via digital channels.

The report is now available to download, but here we want to give a summary of our report and an overview of how luxury watch brands can drive sales and enter 2021 in a strong position…

three of Formex's watches

Market Insights & Key Trends

Overall, the global luxury goods industry has been enjoying an upward trajectory since 1995. According to Statista, the industry rises and falls with the gross domestic product (GDP); seeing demand increase in times of economic stability and plummet during unfavourable economic climates. As we are in the midst of a global pandemic, it is difficult to predict how long the economy will take to recover.

However, the luxury watch and jewellery market amount to $47,378m globally in 2020 and 34% of this ($24,466m) revenue is generated from luxury watches – according to Statista, research estimates that revenue in this industry is expected to rise by 9.8% (CAGR 2020-2023).

With the demand for luxury watches increasing in recent years, we have outlined a number of key trends in our market insights report that will help brands move forward in 2021, including:

  • A much larger demand for women’s luxury watch ranges. Manufacturers and retail brands alike are shifting their attention to focus more on this market.
  • An increase in demand for second-hand luxury watches. Many luxury watch brands have already introduced new ways to acquire and sell second-hand timepieces online while their brick-and-mortar stores are closed. Does your business have scope to tap into this market?
  • Success stories from brands who have crowdfunded as a way to open up a new financing model. The beauty of this model is that you can generate funds before starting to manufacture new products and gauge popularity off the back of a crowdfunded soft launch.
man wearing Formex watch on wrist


Research shows that a whopping 95% of web traffic is captured by websites on page 1 of search results, that leaves only 5% of traffic for the remaining pages. So, if you are not doing so already, you should be investing in SEO with the aim of achieving position 1, 2, or 3 in organic search engine results pages (SERPs).

So, why is it important to have a presence on page 1 of SERPs? On average, the CTR for the 1st result SERPs where there are no ads present is 30%, comparatively, when paid results have a presence, this drops down to 17.9%. And, with 75% of people not going any further than Google’s first page of results, you really can’t afford to be showing up on anywhere other than page 1.

To get the highest ROI from your website, a good ranking on organic keywords is an extremely valuable tool in your marketing toolbox. During our time working with clients in the luxury watch industry, we have seen different brands with similar oversights – this extends to the luxury watch industry as a whole. Within our report, we provide our SEO strategy recommendations, specifically for luxury watch brands, that include:

  • Ensuring your website is optimised in terms of keywords which match the search intent of luxury shoppers.
  • The importance of blog content for your watch brand.
  • The importance of highlighting your product’s USP in your site content. Most luxury watch brands share a blind spot; making little effort to explain what makes a luxury watch worth its price tag...


Across the luxury watch industry, your competitors are heavily investing in paid search which is one of the most popular digital advertising channels for retail. In a highly competitive marketplace, running brand activity can not only act as the
catalyst for conversion but it can act as brand protection. Competitor watch brands or third-party sellers will bid on your brand keywords, so it is advisable to always have brand activity active to prevent competitors from appearing above you as an ad in SERPs. As you own your brand, your ad will be deemed as the most relevant for your ‘brand name’ keywords.

Having worked with several luxury watch brands on their PPC advertising, our market insights report provides recommendations in how to harness this platform for optimal impact, covering:

  • The biggest opportunities in PPC advertising and where we have found success when working with our luxury watch clients.
  • Why investment in Google Shopping should be a key factor in your PPC strategy. Shopping is the go-to campaign format for nearly all eCommerce PPC accounts and has a proven track record of driving significant revenue for brands in your industry.
  • The importance of PPC remarketing to increase the competitiveness of your ads and the bid percentages on highly valuable audiences.

Social Media

Smartphones have transformed the way we shop and it is estimated that mobile could reach a 73% share in total eCommerce sales by 2021. And, it’s clear that social media has played a huge part in this shift in consumer behaviour, with 55% of consumers having bought something online after discovering it on social media.

formex Instagram ad displayed on an Iphone

On top of this, on average, people are spending almost two and a half hours on social media every day – it’s where people spend their time and it’s where you should be advertising.

Social media has become ever more popular with luxury brands who want to use its varied formats and targeting methods to create brand awareness, site traffic, and conversions digitally; for a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing methods. Creating engaging social media campaigns that harness immersive formats and granular audience targeting has been a key element of driving results for all our luxury watch clients. Our report explores the impact social media has had on the luxury watch market and delves into strategic choices that have driven huge success for our clients in the industry, including:

  • Identifying the needs and desires of the new luxury consumer in order to create campaigns that engage and drive success. The importance of engagement and lead generating ad formats, coupled with harnessing dynamic ads, to create a full sales funnel experience. With almost 80% of current luxury sales being ‘digitally influenced’, luxury watch brands need to start thinking of social media as a key touchpoint or the start of that journey – not the be all and end all or a platform to overlook.
  • Using full-screen, mobile-first experiences to create stand-out campaigns that deliver amazing results

If you’re interested in finding out more about the digital landscape of the luxury watch industry in 2020, then you can download the full report here.

Alternatively, if you think our team can help with your digital marketing strategy, you can get in touch.

How can After Digital Help you?

With over 3 years of experience working with brands in the luxury watch industry, our team of experts have taken key learnings from this work to provide valuable insights and create efficient digital marketing strategies for our current, and future, clients – we could do the same for you!

And, our expertise doesn’t stop there, with over two decades of experience across a wide variety of industries, we’re well-versed in the ever-evolving digital marketing landscape and have supported a multitude of organisations; supporting their online marketing and delivering tangible results. If you feel we could help you, get in touch via the form below.

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