The Chinese Middle Class - Mechanical watches — the absolute priority

Europa Star - March 2017

The Chinese Middle Class - Six times greater than the population of France

Julie Laulusa

Managing Partner - Mazars Mainland China

China has a middle-class population of 350 to 400 million people, over six times the population of France. Those earning 120,000 RMB or more are considered to be part of the middle class, and according to Chinese law, must declare their yearly income. We can further divide the middle classes into three segments: from 120,000 to 200,000 RMB; from 200,000 to 400,000 RMB; and 400,000 to 1 million RMB for the upper-middle class. Beyond this level, we move into the upper class. Another important distinction is the distribution of these different segments of the middle classes, who are for the most part city-dwellers. First-rate cities, like Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, and Canton, are home to most of the second and third segments. The middle classes in second-rate cities are from the first and second segments.


Three recent studies on watch-buying in China have revealed interesting insights into the market, all drawing similar conclusions. They were conducted between 2014 and 2015 on very large samples of the population between 18 and 55 years old. According to the results, the Chinese love watches and nearly 50 per cent of those questioned said they had more than three, and between 21 and 25 per cent have up to five. As for the reasons behind their purchase choices, one-third said the brand is the most important factor, while another third prioritises style, materials, and the movement, with a mechanical movement an absolute must-have for 85 per cent of those surveyed. Only 25 per cent prioritise price, and the remaining
5 per cent focus on after-sales service.

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