Wearable Technology Sells Better than Traditional Timepieces

BY Rachel Cagle
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"The total U.S. wholesale watch universe grew 13% to $8.8 billion in 2018, driven by a 54% increase in dollar sales of smartwatches," according to the December 2018 Watch Total Market Report from The NPD Group. "Traditional watches accounted for 56% of annual dollar sales, but smartwatches outsold them in Q4 2018, accounting for 55% of total watch sales during the final three months of the year." Wearable technology is paving the way for fruitful future sales.

The Age of Wearable Technology

As wearable technology such as smartwatches becomes more available to the public, it is also becoming more commonplace. While smartwatches are now outpacing traditional time pieces in sales, smartwatches haven't negated the demand for traditional timepieces, they have just lessened the demand.

Smartwatch Shoppers are every bit the techies they seem to be. According to AudienceSCAN, these consumers also own Windows computers (66.2%), Smart TV/​Streaming services (53.8%), iPads (48.7%), video game consoles (46.6%) and they're 211% more likely than other adults to already have a smartwatch. In the past month, 57.8% have used a search engine to research a product they were considering and in the past six months, they've used the internet to look up a TV commercial on YouTube (38.6%) and used a mobile device to purchase products (58.9%). They're also 147% more likely than other adults to find advertising on their mobile apps useful.

"While three out of the top five watch brands offer only smartwatches within their assortment, the other two are traditional brands that play at the upper end of the market," reports The NPD Group. "Despite overall sales declines in traditional watch channels, the average manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) of traditional watches being sold increased in 2018. The most stable price-​point was at the high-​end of the market, among watches priced $25,000 and up."

The NPD Group also found that gender-​neutral timepieces are also gaining popularity. That is a difficult position for traditional timepieces to take, since, for decades, traditional timepieces have been designed to spotlight significant differences between watches manufactured for men and those created for females, for example size, color scheme, clock face design, etc. However, smartwatches and other wearable technology is generally gender-​neutral by design since the main focus of these products is the screen itself. Last year, gender-​neutral timepieces were the only category of these products to show sales growth, showing a 35% increase from 2017.

Retailers can target Smartwatch Shoppers using digital advertisements. Last year, according to AudienceSCAN, these consumers took action after either seeing ads on their mobile smartphone apps or receiving an ad via text (69%), seeing ads on daily deals sites such as Groupon (66.4%) and receiving email ads (66.2%). They're also 62% more likely than others to click on text link ads on websites. Don't be afraid to mix in some traditional advertisements, though. Last year, 78.1% took action after seeing a TV commercial and 63.4% reacted to ads they saw in both print and digital magazines.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.