Young see watches as fashion item, status symbol

The reasons for buying and wearing a watch have changed according to the latest research from Market intelligence agency Mintel.

Mintel’s Watches UK 2015 report states that less than a quarter (24%) of people who wear a watch rarely use it to tell the time, with 27% saying they wear one strictly as a fashion accessory, a figure that rises to 47% for watch wearers between the ages of 20 and 24.

The current strength of the fashion watch phenomenon is called into question with just 25% of consumers aged 16-24, and only one-in-five women, reporting that they prefer watches from fashion brands.

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One-in-eight (12%) consumers state they wear their watch as a status symbol with that figure rising to 25% for 25-34 year olds.

Mintel reports growth in UK watch sales with the UK market growing by 4.6% in 2014 to reach £1.08billion in 2014 and set to reach £1.13billion this year. The report compares this to growth of 1.5% in 2013.

Power purchasers over the past 12 months have been young men with 58% between the ages of 25 and 44 buying a watch. The national average is recorded as 51%.

Mintel’s research also quantified the correlation between income and watch ownership with 81% of consumers with a household income over £50,000 owning a watch compared to 65% of consumers with a household income of less than £15,500.

“There is a direct correlation between affluence and watch purchasing,” stated Tamara Sender, Senior Fashion Analyst at Mintel. “The highest earners and those who describe their financial situation as healthy the most inclined to have purchased a watch for themselves and/or someone else in the last five years. This suggests that as confidence increases and people’s financial situation improves, this is likely to drive watch purchasing.”

Those with a household income over £50,000 were also more likely to wear a watch as a status symbol (24%) compared to just 10% of those whose income was less than £25,000.

Tomorrow WatchPro.com will look at Mintel’s findings on the smartwatch market.

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