What they really, really want: Consumer watch survey
Last month, Retail Jeweller exclusively surveyed more than 200 consumers to find out about their watch-buying habits. Here are the results.
If retailers were allowed three wishes, one of them would surely be the ability to know exactly what their customers were thinking.
It would just make life so much easier to know how much shoppers wanted to spend and what they were looking for.
We thought we would try to make that wish come true by surveying customers about their watch-buying habits. While we can’t get inside the head of every customer, our exclusive survey, which asked about 200 people their views on buying watches, aims to give you an overview of what people want to spend their money on and how much they want to spend.
Unsurprisingly, as this was research via the internet, 89% of respondents were aged 18 to 35 and, interestingly for a survey about watches, 65% of those who responded were female.
Most people owned one or two watches, though 4% did not own any, and one of the reasons for this seems to be the mobile phone. As one respondent told us: “My partner and I share about seven different watches, but we hardly ever wear them because we have the time on our mobile.”
The phone element also comes into play when people think about how much they would spend on a new watch. When it comes to how much money they want to part with our surveyed group really didn’t want to spend too much. 67% were willing to pay up to £100, while only 16% would pay between £101 and £200.
When Katie Ronecker, a university student, was asked about why she thought £100 was a reasonable amount to spend, she said: “I think anywhere around £100 is reasonable for anyone who actually uses their watch to tell the time rather than a mobile phone.”
At the other end of the scale, 5% thought it was worth spending more than £1,000 to get a decent timepiece because, as one respondent said: “It is better to spend more on a watch
because you know the timepiece will last longer, and nobody wants to showcase a cheap watch.”
As for what people spend their money on, the three most defining factors were colour, brand and durability.
Considering the lower price points most of the respondents were willing to pay, price was only fourth on the list of things that would make a customer purchase - perhaps hinting that if the other three qualities were met, then how much was spent could change.
And it is not just men wanting technical prowess. In keeping with a rising trend in women wanting watches that have some substance under the case back, many of the women on our survey who were willing to pay a higher price for a watch also wanted some type of technical clout as well.
The real problem for jewellery retailers is where people are buying their watches. As Kate Donovan reported in last month’s issue, department stores are taking a growing share of the watch market and have had an increase in sales volumes of 33.5%, when combined with mail order houses, for the period May 2010 to April 2011 in comparison with the same
period the previous year.
And our survey bears this out. A staggering 54% of people made their last watch purchase in a department store. When you compare this with the 17% who bought from a jewellery or watch store, it means that, despite historically doing well on watches, retailers are missing out on 83% of potential customers in this age group.
However, the good news is that the frequency with which people are buying is quite high. Some 52% of our respondents purchased a watch in the period from January 2010 to May 2011.
There were no surprises when it came to the brand people would buy if money was no object. About 25% of the vote went to Rolex. However, there were a few Tag Heuers and Omegas (obviously the Daniel Craig effect is working), and a couple of Cartier tanks and Chanel J20s.
One respondent, who definitely has their finger on the horological pulse, even opted for a Breguet Classique 5717 Hora Mundi, one of the stars of this year’s BaselWorld, which goes to show that people can certainly surprise you - even when you can read their minds.
Some of the stats…
89% were 18 to 35 year olds
65% were female
16% were willing to spend between £101 and £200
4% didn’t own a watch
52% bought a watch between January 2010 and May 2011
67% were willing to spend up to £100
5% were willing to spend more than £1,000
54% bought their last watch in a department store
25% would buy a Rolex if price was no object
17% bought their last watch in a jewellery store