The Watches of Switzerland Group has shared what was once an internal market intelligence report for the first time, and it is a treasure trove of information on how watch customers are behaving in both the United States and United Kingdom.
The 2019 Trends Report reveals that the average price paid for a women’s watch at the group’s stores has risen faster than for men’s watches.
The average price for women’s models has risen from £3,557 ($4,624) in 2014, when the group traded only in the UK, to £4,336 ($5,638) in 2019, a figure that includes sales in the United States as well; a 22% jump in five years.
Over the same period, the average price paid for a men’s watch at any of The Watches of Switzerland Group stores, has risen from £4,591 ($5,968) in 2014 to £5,267 ($6,847) in 2019; an increase of 15%.
Rising demand for mechanical movements appears to be a driving force behind the increasing average sale prices for ladies’ watches. Back in 2014, 36% of watches were quartz-based, a figure that has fallen to 24% this year.
Automatic watches now account for 72% of all sales for women’s watches (up from 58% in 2014), while sales of hand-wound mechanicals have dipped from 6% of the total five years ago to 4% this year.
It is worth noting that The Watches of Switzerland Group’s retail brands: Goldsmiths, Watches of Switzerland, monobrand watch boutiques and Mappin & Webb in the UK; and Watches of Switzerland monobrand boutiques and Mayors in the United States, focus heavily on higher end timepieces most like to be mechanical. To illustrate, in the men’s watch segment, 90% of sales are mechanical automatics.
“It is interesting in a world driven by technology that today’s watch consumer is rejecting a 1970s technology [quartz] in favor of the appeal of the age old artisinal skills of the mechanical watchmaker,” commentary alongside the data says.