The global watch market is projected to grow at the rate of 8.2% from now through 2023, according to research conducted by Mordor Intelligence. Adoption of Swiss-made luxury watches, a rise in the demand for smart sport watches, especially among youths, and a change in lifestyle are some factors driving the watch market globally, finds the research firm.
Demand is rising for watches that offer innovative design, superior quality, and craftsmanship. There’s greater preference for branded watches with limited edition ranges, finds the report. It also cites more brands launching smart sports watches equipped with advanced functionalities like multisport tracking, heart rate monitor, and GPS capabilities. In the next four years, demand for sport and smart-watches is forecasted to grow at a faster rate globally.
The global watch market was valued at over US$47 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach more than US$72 billion by the end of 2025, growing at a CAGR of 6.2% during the next five years, according to Wrist Watch Global Market Growth, Opportunities, Analysis of Top Key Players & Forecast to 2025, by Wiseguyreports.com.
Likewise, Statist’s analysis values the global watch market at more than US$46 billion, expected to reach over US$53 billion by 2023. It too cites key purchase drivers as precision, quality, design, workmanship, tradition, and high tech.
Gartner L2 Digital IQ Index for Watches & Jewelry 2019 advocates brands rethink distribution channels to find growth pockets. Leader brands are increasingly shifting priorities towards digital channels, says the report, as they look for more ownership of the customer across the purchase journey.
Among L2’s recommendations, it advises brands/jewelers to meet basic expectations for site functionality and customer experience, including features like geolocation, mobile-optimized check out, and live chat. It recommends integrating useful merchandising content across the purchase path to provide for a cohesive customer experience. It stresses the importance of investing in search and diversified content across platforms.
The Index finds though that significant headwinds remain for watch and jewelry brands online even as they increasingly prioritize digital. Years of under investment in digital channels have heightened the difficulty for laggards. This is particularly apparent for prestige brands, where online threats such as unauthorized gray and second-hand markets own 38 percent of above-the-fold shopping ads on Google search.
According to Statista, in recent years, many luxury watch manufacturers have altered their marketing and sales techniques to adapt to the changing times. They seem to understand the importance of using social media to market their product. A survey of watch company executives found that nearly 70 percent would focus efforts on making sales through their own online channels.
Luxury watches are highly valued for their craftsmanship and prestige. Among the younger generations, the appeal of a fine luxury watch has not diminished. In a 2017 survey by Statista, about 70 percent of Millennials worldwide reported owning at least one traditional analogue watch.
Most important for brands to do is to be real in their communications. Tell stories that convey the essence of the brand and its products through the people who make, sell and wear it. Approach the end-consumers via social media, bloggers and PR, and invite them to participate in the conversation.
Over the last five years, Citizen has seen its fan-base grow exponentially through Instagram, the company reports. Social media, especially Instagram, creates an effective platform for visually presenting the brand and creating stories/lifestyles around each style, collection, or program.
Brands can capitalize on that and have direct conversations with consumers as well as show them what other consumers have purchased. Retailers who are more in tune with the brands they carry can really work that brand power in their favor. Online, Citizen offers a micro-site to each retailer that directly connects the customer with Citizen.
Moreover, licensed partnerships provide a new outlet to tap into a new fan-base, like Citizen’s licensed partnership with Marvel and Disney, cites Susan Chandler, Chief Merchandising Officer, Citizen Watch America. “It’s creating great excitement at retail and we have many new products in the works to continue to get behind important partnerships. The Citizen Disney Alliance also keeps our brand relevant as families visit the park and will see our brands prominently featured together at the Main Street clock and clocks throughout the park.
Bulova also tells its brand story with its connection to music and successful partnerships in the music industry — Tune of Time, Ultra Music, Windows of Hip Hop, GRAMMYs & Latin GRAMMYs.
Bulova is launching this spring its first collection of men’s jewelry, as well, featuring cuff links, bracelets, and pendants in stainless steel, leather, and gemstones — incorporating the brand’s signature design details and functionality.
And, expect Citizen to roll out important marketing campaigns for its latest Capella and Ceci collections for women.
Barbara Palumbo, watch and jewelry journalist and blogger for whatsonherwrist.com, feels that advertising has shifted in the direction of women right now, at least slightly, and the market will be seeing more of it in the next several years. “If the Apple watch did one positive thing for the watch market, it was that it allowed a lot more women to feel comfortable with wearing a watch on their wrist, and as the popularity of the Apple watch dies down, women may very well go out and purchase analog timepieces, realizing that they can be just as much a part of one’s wardrobe as a purse or a pair of earrings.”