The Watch Hut’s Chris Derrer has witnessed steady growth in kids’ watch sales and rising demand for colourful, character watches. He tells WatchPro about changing sales and the fickle nature of children’s tastes, part of our in-depth focus on the children’s watch market.
WP: How would you say the children’s watch market has changed over the past year?
Chris Derrer: Around 0.5% of our daily sales in January  were down to children’s watches, increasing to around 2% during the Christmas period. There has been a slow and relatively small growth, but this could be down to our increasing range. This year does seem to have been the first year that watches have become popular presents for children, most likely down to the ever increasing range on offer.
WP: New brands are entering the children’s sector – what impact will this have?
CD: Competition is always good, children’s tastes change far more often than adults so having a bigger selection means that when they outgrow their style, there’s another brand there to fit that taste.
WP: What key trends are you seeing in the kids’ market for 2013?
CD: Character watches are set to be big. Moshi Monsters look to be one of the trends for the start of the year, but whatever the next big thing is to kids we expect that to take over in the popularity stakes. Teen watches look to be big for 2013, bright and colourful lightweight pieces at low price points, much the same as this year.
WP: Do you believe kids’ watches are becoming a more serious segment of the watch market?
CD: At the moment, they are enjoying a steady growth, but as far as competing with gents and ladies, it’s unlikely they will ever get the volume of sales to overcome the low prices they retail for.
WP: As a retailer, do you think there is there scope for growth in the kids’ market?
CD: Always, but it’s unlikely to be consistent for one brand. Crazes dictate children’s fashion so although some brands with enjoy a strong few months, they will almost definitely see a large slump once the next craze comes along. From a retailer’s point of view, clever marketing can ensure that piggybacking in these crazes brings in a decent share of the market.
WP: With kids growing up faster than ever, are brands focused on creating scaled down versions of adult models?
CD: It’s important to categorise children’s watches into age groups, as there will be a point where each child no longer wants a watch featuring their favourite cartoon character but of their favourite designer. This is where children stop getting watches bought for them and start buying for themselves. Brands like Casio and Sekonda can easily be branded as teen watches where as for child specific brands; their designs will not translate to teens. With children seemingly growing up faster and faster these days, some brands may need to introduce more mature designs as well as the youthful ones.
WP: Has the explosion of coloured watches had an impact?
CD: Without a doubt, especially with brands like Ice Watch taking out TV advertising. Colourful watches are bigger than ever, they are also child-friendly designs in general. Smaller and slimmer versions of the most popular colourful watches would without a doubt be successful to the ever increasing teen market.