How Luxury Watch Brands Are Capturing Millennials

5 minute read

Paloma Ahlstrand Byrne

We’ve all heard how fashion and beauty brands are fighting to stay relevant and connect with younger generations – whether it’s adopting a See-Now-Buy-Now strategy or collaborating with young celebs on collections – capturing millennials is at the center of many brands’ objectives. But what approaches are luxury watch brands and jewelry makers adopting to win over this digital-savvy generation? It has always been a tricky topic for heritage brands, finding the right balance between attracting younger buyers and at the same time staying true to their history. But despite the pandemic, the luxury watch industry is managing to maintain a stable standpoint as many affluent individuals and influencers are investing in luxury watches. And many brands are implementing the use of millennial and Gen-Z influencers to generate a more personal relationship with their consumers.

Luxury watch brands and jewelry makers are slowly starting to attract the next generation: the Tech-savvy Millennial generation is becoming the largest segment of the workforce and is heavily influenced by media with a whole world of information about luxury watch brands right at their fingertips! A generation that requires a completely different approach to marketing; Georges Kern, CEO of Swiss luxury watchmaker Breitling says they are incorporating a variety of influencers and celebrities as part of a team to create “a holistic story of great talents“. He also explains how they’ve adapted their marketing strategies which target millennials, as the generation looks at different values from what has been highlighted in campaigns before.

Four ways luxury watch brands are winning over millennials:

Brand ambassadors that speak to Millennials

Celebrity brand ambassadors (ones that suit the brand and truly speak to their target audience) have always been an attractive way for brands to raise their brand awareness. With many luxury watch brands utilizing a range of celebrity endorsers for their products, there seems to be a common theme of utilizing all-star and mega-influencers. See for example Millie Bobbi Brown for Moncler, where her post in December amassed $1.4M in MIV®. The brand value added by celebrities is instantaneous and evident, and luxury watch brands are no strangers to this marketing tactic. As millennials are known to look for qualities in products beyond that of function, they are placing a lot more value on creating a lifestyle and meaningful experiences. Which is no wonder the luxury watch brand TAG Heuer has worked closely with Chris Hemsworth to promote their brand, as the actor shares his active lifestyle with the accessory incorporated in both style and in function.

 

 

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Offering prices Millennials want to pay

Millennials are not only attracted to the functionality of smartwatches. In fact, Millennials are the leaders as both consumers and producers, although their shopping experience is vastly done online and with media influence, the generation still shows great value and interest for a classic timepiece. In the past years, there’s been a boom in affordable watch startups founded by Millennials, offering timeless pieces at affordable prices. The new generation values functionality and transparency, meaning their purchases are driven by the product and authenticity of the brand.  But where does that leave the Swiss watch industry? While many brands stay true to their heritage and hence also to their expensive watch prices, some luxury watch brands are adapting to the demands of the new generation: in 2018, Swiss luxury house Tissot has launched more affordable versions of their timeless classics that are aimed to not only fit Millennials’ values and budget but at the same time be of the same quality ‘Swiss made’ stands for. Tissot took it one step further and announced the re-make of their popular automatic chronograph with a price knock-off of almost one-third of the original amount. 

Using influencers to raise awareness

With Millennials came the rise of social media and influencer marketing. Just a few years ago many brands thought influencer marketing would be a phase, yet it has become evident that both luxury- and affordable- watch brands have seen some of the most influential voices of their campaigns coming from influencers and celebrity endorsers. According to our report, influencer collaborations for luxury-watch campaigns have greatly aided the industry in maintaining and generating genuine connections to their customer base, especially during the global pandemic.

Hitting Home with Sustainability

Consumer values are shifting and with Millennials disrupting shopping behaviors, brands are trying to adapt their strategies and meet their needs. According to this Forbes article, both the Gen-Y and the Gen-Z generations as consumers are becoming increasingly aware of social and environmental issues. It has become such an important aspect for Millennials, that they are even willing to pay more for products and services perceived as sustainable or coming from environmentally and socially responsible companies. In the fashion industry, we are seeing more and more brands switching to more ethical ways of manufacturing and marketing to prove their commitment to sustainability goals, and this is also reflected in the luxury sector. Even luxury retailers are seeing a change in demand from their consumers, consistently observing an expectation of transparency and authenticity in brands.

brands for millennials

 

In summary, Millennials are expressing a different type of demand and expectation from brands, including those in the luxury watch brands market. With greater importance placed on sustainability in all aspects, the generation seeks to connect with brands that showcase authenticity in their products as well as their business practices, and this has become increasingly important for brands to achieve in order to meet the new customer demands. The increased use of major influencers has helped generate interest among younger consumers and brands are becoming more personalized which has resulted in a stronger connection and greater customer loyalty as individuals are gaining more of an all-round experience of the brand rather than just a product.

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