Young Investors on the Rise

by Marc-Andre Schmid

A new generation of investors is entering the market, and they are placing more value on alternative assets. The Deloitte Swiss Watch Industry Study of 2023 indicates that over half, 54% to be exact, of Gen Z and younger millennial buyers reported an uptick in their expenditure on luxury watches over the past two years. They attributed this increase to greater convenience in purchasing and selling, as well as the emergence of additional investment prospects. A significant majority, comprising 66%, stated that the expected preservation or appreciation of value in the watch influenced their purchase decision. Fifty percent of surveyed watch buyers expressed their intention to increase spending on luxury watches over the next 24 months, driven by the introduction of new models and growing confidence in market prices, signaling sustained positive momentum and relative price resilience in the category.

 

Millennials, Gen Z and Gen Alpha, 59%, 45% and 41% respectively, also show a greater inclination towards purchasing pre-owned items. Recent data from the Deloitte Swiss Watch Industry Study indicates a declining average age among buyers in the secondary market, attributed to online platforms like Chrono24, which facilitate watch purchases while enhancing market transparency. Consumers in general indicated to be more likely to buy a pre-owned luxury watch in the next 12 months compared to 2022 last year, with an increase from 32% to 39% in 2023.

 

The lion’s share of luxury watch purchases remain in the hands of ultra-high-networth individuals. Data by the 2023 Deloitte Swiss Watch Industry Survey attributes 60% of all watch purchases to such buyers, as Individuals who purchase luxury watches are typically wealthy individuals who grasp the inherent worth of timepieces and acknowledge the enduring, steady, long-term returns that luxury watches generate.  

The ultra-high-net-worth segment of the consumer base for luxury watches also contributes significantly to the strong performance of these timepieces. Given that establishing a purchasing history with a brand is essential for acquiring coveted pieces in the primary market, the broader consumer base is also seen acquiring multiple timepieces from a brand to secure desired models. This robust consumer base plays a crucial role in maintaining the value and returns of luxury watches, offering protection against market volatility and ensuring stability in various market conditions.


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