EXCLUSIVE: Two-thirds of luxury watch customers are happy to browse and buy online


The Big Watch Survey from magazine publisher Hearst has found that over two-thirds of its readers would be happy to browse and buy timepieces online.

The survey compiled results from over 8000 readers of its leading fashion and lifestyle titles, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Red and Men’s Health in the UK.

The willingness to browse and buy online is particularly significant, because the overwhelming majority of watch brands that the 8169 respondents want to buy online are at the luxury end of the market.


The survey was conducted between October last year to January. The top ten “most wanted” watch brands in the survey, are:

  1. Rolex
  2. Patek Philippe
  3. Omega
  4. Breitling
  5. IWC
  6. Cartier
  7. TAG Heuer
  8. Audemars Piguet
  9. Jaeger-LeCoultre
  10. Hublot

The high end wish list makes the current efforts of luxury watch brands to develop their online retail strategy all the more important.

Drilling into the detail of the online versus in-store results, The Big Watch Survey finds that over 70% of readers either strongly agree or agree with the statement “I’m happy to browse and buy online”.

The importance of an omnichannel approach, delivering a quality retail experience across online and in-store, is highlighted by the fact that, even though over 70% of people are happy to browse and buy online, almost two-thirds (63%) said they would never buy a watch without seeing it in store.

The same percentage, 63%, strongly agree or agree with the statement: “I am happy to research online, but wouldn’t consider buying online”.

The survey also highlights the importance of well-trained in-store staff because well over half of respondents (57%) seek out the advice of shop assistants when they make watch purchasing decisions.

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