Smaller gem-set versions of men’s watch models, often with mechanical movements switched for quartz, have too often been merely an afterthought to address the women’s market. Watch manufacturers are now learning that they can no longer simply “bling it and sling it”.
All told, women’s watches retailing for $3,000 and above experienced an impressive 21 percent increase in spending during the three months ending April ’19* – indicating a robust market for female self-purchasers. Looking at what attributes drove growth at the higher end, we see women gravitating towards mechanical/automatic watches and dress watches, both up double digits. Women’s watches with plain dials, stainless steel cases, and non-diamond bezels are all experiencing double-digit growth.
The majority of women are shopping for and purchasing watches in-store**. When women do make a watch purchase online, they are more likely to shop a retailer website than purchasing directly from a manufacturer – unlike their male counterparts.
Bottom line, the female consumer is becoming better educated about the work, craftsmanship and detail involved in creating and manufacturing a living, breathing mechanical watch – resulting in an exciting opportunity for manufacturers. Retailers are acknowledging this trend, and creating women’s watch clubs with informational events dedicated to the female collector.
As the fashion segment continues to be cannibalized by smartwatches, higher value mechanical watches present a viable alternative that is keeping women shopping.
*Source: The NPD Group / Retail Tracking Service
**Source: The NPD Group / May 2019 Omnibus