The first “German Watch Study” sees a smartwatch boom in Germany


Younger consumers in particular have a growing desire for products that are just as sustainable as they are state-of-the-art. 

That is one of the results of the first “German Watch Study 2021: Measuring the pulse of consumers”. The study also shows that smartwatches in particular are much more widespread than last year.

The “German Watch Study 2021” was collected in cooperation between the auditing and consulting firm Deloitte and Inhorgenta Munich and presented yesterday in Munich.


24 percent of those surveyed currently wear a smartwatch; last year this proportion was 15 percent. The use of a mechanical or quartz watch, on the other hand, has fallen from 46 percent of those surveyed (2020) to 39 percent this year.

“The first ‘German Watch Study 2021’, initiated by Inhorgenta, documents trends that will generally be reflected at our trade fair in February 2022: new technologies, sustainability and future trade,” explains Klaus Dittrich, CEO of Messe München .

For the study, 500 consumers in Germany were asked about preferences and usage behavior in July and August 2021.

“Watches with extensive functionalities will become increasingly important,” says Karsten Hollasch, partner at Deloitte and head of the consumer goods sector. “This shows on the one hand a look at the age groups. But also increasing health awareness – combined with the desire to be able to measure one’s own health data – as well as the use of payment functions will reinforce this development. “

Smartwatches overtake classic watches for younger people

Among the baby boomers (born in 1964 and older), 55 percent of those surveyed currently own a classic watch. The proportion of boomers who own a smartwatch (12%) or both (9%), on the other hand, is growing compared to the previous year, albeit at a low level.

Smart watches are quite common among younger consumers (Generation Z, born 1997 and younger). While only 21 percent here wear a classic watch, 33 percent of those surveyed in this age group own a smartwatch.

In Generation Z, the smartwatch has already overtaken the classic watch. At 34 percent, the proportion of smartwatch wearers among millennials is slightly higher.

In total, more than two thirds of 24 to 40 year olds prefer a smartwatch.

The sustainability factor is gaining in importance

Across all age groups, almost half of those surveyed (44%) assume that sustainability criteria will play a role for them when buying the next watch. Among the youngest consumers (Gen Z), this proportion rises to 52 percent of those surveyed.

“Younger consumers in particular have a particularly strong awareness of sustainability. Manufacturers and dealers – not only in the watch industry – are well advised to take this changed awareness into account, ”says Hollasch.

The CO 2 balance and the sustainable packaging of their watch are particularly important to consumers .

Classic watches are becoming less important

Overall, for almost a quarter (24%) of the consumers surveyed, owning a watch has lost importance in the past five years. One of the main reasons for this is the proliferation of smartphones, which also display the time.

Much less important are reasons such as “A watch is no longer a status symbol for me” (24%), “There are fewer reasons to wear a watch” (20%) or “I prefer to spend my savings on experiences such as traveling or others Activities off ”(18%). For 55 percent of those surveyed, the importance of a watch has not changed.

Marketing channels are changing fundamentally

In addition, the marketing channels for the watch industry are changing fundamentally. The importance of influencers and social media increased year-on-year by seven percentage points to 35 percent.

The company’s own network has also gained in influence, whereas traditional marketing channels via radio, television and the press are becoming less important.

While the purchase decision is increasingly shaped digitally, also through corresponding research on the Internet, a slim majority of 51 percent of consumers still buy new watches in a store. In contrast, 49 percent prefer to buy online or via social media.

Here, too, the difference between the generations can be seen: Among the baby boomers, 55 percent prefer shopping in stores, in Generation Z this proportion is 23 percent. The ratio turns when it comes to online shopping: 33 percent of Generation Z shop on a branded website, while only 15 percent of Baby Boomers do so.

“The watch industry – like many areas of the consumer goods industry – is facing a fundamental change,” says Karsten Hollasch.

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