Luxury watches are making a comeback in 2018, driven by affluent Millennials shoppers. A recent survey from Deloitte found that Millennial consumers are still very much interested in buying high-end Swiss watches. The research shows that Millennials would indeed prefer a luxury watch over a digital smartwatch if given CHF 5,000 to spend on a gift.

High-end watch manufacturers need however to understand that the younger generation of watch buyers are not on the market for old and traditional watches. Millennial consumers are indeed looking for simplicity, personalisation and transparency when choosing their timepiece.

A new report from Luxe Digital finds that luxury watch brands are focusing on new design and improving their online presence to drive growth in 2018. Vintage-inspired designs and online collaborations with influencers and bloggers are particularly important for traditional watch manufacturers.

Vintage-inspired design is trending in 2018

Luxury watch executives expect classical watch design to drive sales in 2018. And the industry has plenty of historical timepieces to draw inspiration from when it comes to classical design. A number of landmark watches are celebrating their anniversary in 2017 and 2018. The Cartier Tank, for example, turned 100 last year, while the Rolex Sea-Dweller turned 50, the Omega Speedmaster, Railmaster and Seamaster each turned 60 and the Patek Philippe Aquanaut 20 (among other anniversaries).

The trend for vintage-inspired models also continued with the arrival of the new Tag Heuer Autavia, the release of the Omega 60th-anniversary trilogy as well as vintage-inspired models from Montblanc, Longines and Jaeger-LeCoultre to name a few. The trend for blue dials continued as did the focus on female watches with new models from Richard Mille, Audemars Piguet and IWC.

It’s all about digital this year

The growing importance of having a digital strategy is not surprising given that online and digital channels continue to rise. According to Deloitte’s Global Powers of Retailing 2017 report, online retail sales are growing much faster than overall revenues.

Until recently many Swiss watch brands had tended to be reluctant to adopt online sales channels; however, this no longer seems to be the case.