Rob Hughes is head of licensing at Zeon’s character division, the department dedicated to creating watches for children, based on TV and story book characters. He tells WatchPro about kid’s changing timepiece demands, which characters are hot and which have fallen off in terms of popularity.
WatchPro: How has the market changed for children’s watches over the past year?
Rob Hughes: For pre-schoolers, the market has actually changed very little. Older children however are part of the mobile phone generation and for them, watches are not so necessary.
WP: What key trends are you seeing in the kids market for 2013?
RH: Increased emphasis on value for money. Parents are less frivolous with their spending.
WP: Are there any new special product developments that you are working on for this year or years to come?
RH: We are offering new features in some children’s watches, for example flashing LEDs, disk-firing systems, etc.
WP: What are retailers’ attitudes to selling children’s watches? Is there scope for growth?
RH: The grocers [supermarkets] are playing a bigger role, which helps us. Most retailers do see the potential.
WP: Would you say that children’s watches is a growth sector of the market?
RH: No, there is little growth anywhere in watches.
WP: How are children’s watches changing in this ever-more modern age? Do character watches still sell well or is it about creating scaled down versions of adult models?
RH: Up to the age of about 10, kids’ watches are the same as they were. Above this age, kids are looking for more in the way of fashion and/or technology.
WP: Has the explosion of coloured watches had an impact on the market?
RH: Yes, but they are no more than a passing trend, albeit a powerful one.
WP: Which characters does Zeon work with, and which are new or in the pipeline?
RH: Zeon has over 20 character licences currently, including Ben 10, Octonauts, Peppa Pig, Doctor Who, Spiderman and Thomas and Friends. Less popular characters are SpongeBob Squarepants and Dora the Explorer.
To read more about the children’s watch market, click here.