China has surpassed the United States as the world’s largest watch market, according to the 2012 WorldWatchReport compiled by the Digital Luxury Group.
China represented 23 percent of all watch-related Internet searches, the study said, surpassing the U.S. for the first time since the study was launched in 2004. Overall, searches for watches in China grew 7.8 percent.
But while demand grew in markets like Japan (up 3.5 percent), India, and Russia, many Western markets didn’t fare as well. Demand fell 9.2 percent in the United States, the survey said, and also dropped in Germany and Italy.
The survey ranked the top three watch models as the Omega Seamaster, the Rolex Submariner, and the Rolex Daytona.
The survey also found that the gap Rolex held over Omega in previous years has narrowed. The study said the difference in demand between the two brands is 2.3 percentage points—a drop from the 8.4 percent recorded in 2009. The study attributed this to Omega’s growing strength in China.