New brand desirability data released in September by Mintel has revealed that Rolex is the most coveted watch brand among UK teenagers and those in their early 20s.
While the timepieces may be out of reach for most teens the luxury brand is said to hold the most appeal for 16 to 24 year old shoppers, as well as those aged between 45 and 64, with almost equal desirability between men (55%) and women (54%).
Omega was revealed as a hit among older shoppers, with affluent consumers aged between 65 and 75, with a gross household income of more than £40,000, said to be most attracted to the Omega brand. This might go against the typical assumption that the brand appeals to 30-something males, but Mintel says sales and desirability could have been driven by the brand’s recent sponsorship of the Olympic Games and its widespread branding, which may have had more of an effect on those of retirement age, who would have had more chances to watch the Games during daytime hours.
The Mintel report also showed that TAG Heuer holds high appeal to male consumers, with 24% of those surveyed finding its timepieces desirable. TAG Heuer’s strong associations with motor racing and its ambassadors such as Lewis Hamilton are said to have helped increase its perception as a masculine timepiece brand among males, with TAG most sought after by university-educated men in the 35 to 54 age group who, Mintel offers, are likely to do their grocery shopping at Waitrose.
Sitting on a par with TAG Heuer, the report outlined that Breitling also draws a similar age group, with the brand appealing two times more to men than to women, with those males aged between 35 and 44. A large number of Breitling fans are concentrated in East Anglia and the Midlands. It is thought that John Travolta’s continued partnership with Breitling (the brand and actor have been working together for eight years this year) has also helped to drive its aviation connotations among 30- and 40-something consumers.
The Mintel data from September also confirmed that Swatch remains a brand very much tailored to the under-35s but its strong brand personality has secured it in the mind of many consumers, with one in 10 describing it as one of the most desirable watch brands on the market. Swatch timepieces are said to appeal most to those living in the Northwest of the UK, in the 25 to 34 age group.
Mintel’s data also revealed that more than 84% of adults in the UK – four in every five – own a watch, corresponding to about 43.5 million over-15s in the UK. Most watch owners also regard their watch as an adornment rather than simply a time-telling device, with one in seven adults having a variety of different watches for different occasions.
Tamara Sender, senior clothing analyst at Mintel, stated that men are inclined to view their watch as a status symbol and an important part of their appearance. Sender also described how low-cost fashion watches have continued to do well throughout the economic downturn “as young consumers buy into them as a fashion item”. There has also been a resurgence of retro-style watches, with Casio said to be enjoying increased sales of its basic digital watches.
With a view to spend, the Mintel report also outlined that while consumers continue to buy watches as presents, particularly women buying for men, purchases of watches for someone else have declined, dropping 2.1% between 2008 and 2011, according to data from TGI.
The Mintel concluded that while the watch market is facing tougher times as consumer spending slows, the UK watch market should enjoy an uplift of about 5.3% in the next five years.
This article was taken from the October 2012 issue of WatchPro magazine, out today. To see a digital version of the issue click here.