Aurum has analysed five-years worth of internal data to demonstrate the changing tastes of the watch buying public.
The retail giant, which includes Watches of Switzerland, Mappin & Webb, Goldsmiths, boutique.Goldsmiths, Watchshop.com and Watch Hut, is also in the process of crunching data from 2.5m consumer transactions over the same period which will also be released.
Duffy described the UK as the cheapest place in the world to buy a luxury watch, pointing to a number of brand’s reducing their prices in the UK to reflect currency fluctuations. Duffy stated that no luxury brands had increased their prices for three years.
Aurum’s data showed that the fashion watch sector had also suffered a drop in average price, but Duffy attributed that to the decline of the Michael Kors phenomenon that saw the brand single-handedly convince customers to spend more than ever before on fashion watches.
The figures reveal that men’s watches still dominate the luxury market with a ratio of 3:1 on sales. The category deemed ‘classic’ was less pronounced at 6:4 in favour of men’s watches while women’s watches took the lead in the ‘fashion’ market by 4:6.
While men’s tastes seem to have adjusted to smaller watches in the recent years, with 61% of sales going to watches between 39mm and 41mm, women are buying bigger watches with 31-31mm the most popular size with 25% share this year. Five years ago Aurum recorded watches of this size representing just 9% of women’s watches sold.
While black-dialled watches on watches with a metal bracelet are the most popular choice for men in the UK, it does appear to be something of a national phenomenon.
Duffy sees the meteoric rise in popularity of blue dials as an encouraging sign, joking: “These days you can’t wear a black dial with a blue suit. It’s encouraging that men are looking at watches as accessories.”
It would seem that women are ditching white watches in favour of pink designs.
Round cases dominate the watch industry, representing 88% of sales. Duffy stated that he believed there was a big opportunity in offering differing case shapes. The retail boss, who joined Aurum from Ralph Lauren in 2014, stated that the preference for round cases had been driven by the brands and the tastes of the Chinese market.
The Aurum figures also offer solid statistics to back up the claim that demand for mechanical watches among female watch consumers is on the increase. Five years ago 59% of women’s watches at Aurum were quartz-based, that figure has now dropped to 31%.
Concluding, Duffy suggested that consumers were currently benefiting from a period where watch brands were offering an improved product often at little or no premium such as the introduction of the Calibre 3255 movement from Rolex and Tudor’s in-house movement updates to its Heritage Black Bay collection.