Women's watch market: Timeless over temporary

First published: 13-06-2014

Watchmakers wanting to sell timepieces for women that will resonate with consumers have been advised to focus on creating products that transcend fads or trends.

This is according to managing director of Citizen Watches UK Mark Robinson, in an interview he gave for WatchPro. 

"Whilst some retailers are on the lookout for the next trend, in most instances it’s the true watch brands that are the mainstay with savvy consumers seeking timeless appeal over fads," he explained. 

He pointed out that he'd seen many watch brands spring up, enjoy a period of success and then fade into relative obscurity. 

However, one noticeable exception to this is that of Michael Kors. "Never in all my 16 years in the industry have I seen a brand catapult itself from relative obscurity to one of the leading watch brands," he remarked. 

Gross profits skyrocketed by 54.2 per cent to £328 million for the watchmaker, while retail net sales jumped by a colossal 49.7 per cent to reach a figure of £243 million for its fourth trading quarter, which accounts for the period ending on March 29th this year. 

Chairman and chief executive officer of the firm John Idol attributed this to its talented design team producing products of the highest quality, while the in-store experience on offer was proving popular with customers, both in retail and shop-in-shop concepts. 

Mr Robinson did pose the question as to whether or not this manufacturer was also a passing phase, but considering the enduring popularity of the watchmaker, it's unlikely. 

This meteoric rise of this formerly unknown brand has injected life into the female watch market again, as it has forced other manufacturers to innovate and continue to stand their ground, he said. 

The recent developments in technology have also affected this industry, as social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook allow consumers to communicate with brands and retailers with an ease that would have been considered alien just ten years ago. 

Mr Robinson said his firm had seen "unparalleled levels of engagement" with its female customers through its Facebook page, as this had far exceeded the 100,000 mark in less than 12 months. 

Through the use of such social media platforms, brands are able to garner "unique insights" into what their customers want, he said, which would enable them to increase their product development and stay in touch with those buying the timepieces. 

In terms of what the future held, Mr Robinson pointed out how women were looking for both watches and jewellery that would be appropriate for a number of different settings. 

The colour, specific purpose and fashion of a watch is important when selecting a timepiece for a certain occasion and it is imperative that manufacturers have a wide variety on offer for individuals to choose from. 

He forecast that diamonds and two-tone would continue to make the headlines, as they offer flexibility and a sense of sophistication. Pink and rose gold would also hold onto their crown, he predicted. 

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