Watch industry at the cusp of changing market dynamics with tech innovation

The watch landscape has evolved immensely over the years with changing demands, significance and roles. Brands have been investing in understanding and deciphering these changes to cater better to a generation that demands a concoction of both style and technology. With the advent of innovative technology, the acceptance among the Indian consumers has risen dramatically and will continue to do so as now the demand has shifted from normal watches to smart watches. But, what is giving a new shape to this already talked about the sector is technological advancement that the brands are adopting today to bring a change in a consumer’s life. 

According to Ken Research in India, the mass segment of watches contributes the highest to the market in terms of volume. On the other hand, in terms of value, each of the mass and the mid-price segments contribute about 37 per cent-38 per cent to the total wristwatch market in India. The rest is contributed by the premium segment, which constitutes around 25 per cent of the wristwatch industry in India. As the size of the population with high disposable income has increased significantly over the past years, the demand for luxury goods has substantially increased in the country. The premium segment wristwatch market in India can be further subdivided into three price categories. In value terms, the affordable luxury wristwatch segment has the highest market share of about 44 per cent in the premium wristwatch market in India. The main consumers of this segment of watches are the rising urban population with higher spending capacity. This segment is expected to more than double in FY2018 by experiencing a high growth at a CAGR of 23.3 per cent in the period FY2014-FY2018. 

If we go by the history, earlier the watches were only needed to track time, but with the growing demand today consumers want more than just a normal watch. Technology is playing a bigger role in the watch industry. Traditionally, the smart watches were a fad with fitness enthusiasts and athletes who focused on keeping a track of their health and workouts. Gradually, the acceptance among the Indian audience has stepped up with a category of consumers who demand more than just functionality. Catering to this category means infusing a sense of desirability into the products. The aim is to offer a product that is complete and makes a strong statement when worn. Acceptability of these can be further pushed with advancements in product features. The consumer demands usability of a fitness tracker to go beyond his gym or yoga class. The need of the hour is to offer appealing timepieces that become an ingrained piece of one’s lifestyle. 

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What is further fueling this trend is the surge in smartphone usage. A report by a US-based media agency Zenith states that smartphone ownership globally will continue to expand in 2018 and 66 per cent of individuals in 52 countries will own a smartphone in 2018 – up from 63 per cent in 2017. Therefore, the increased use of smartphone and other mobile devices means more frequent contact between brands and consumers and since these smartphones are part of one’s daily routine and lifestyle, smart watches that can be synced with these smartphones indirectly become a part of one’s regime. Convenience, portability, hands free access to texts and calls apart from technical features and visual appeal are pushing these smart watches to become constant companions gradually. 

The watch industry has realised the power of combining the technology and fashion together. While traditionally the consumer focus was on men, but now it is expanding and appealing to women as well. They are now focusing on products that are being designed for women who don’t want to have to decide between jewellery and gadget. Recently, we introduced Timex Blink, which is a perfect example of enhancing the technology in timekeeping and is an ideal amalgamation of classic style and fitness. It is an activity tracker which uses Bluetooth technology to connect your phone and track all day activity – steps, distance, calories, sleep and gives the battery back-up for 10 days. The USP of the watch is the ability to send instant mail, SMS and save emergency contacts with the user’s GPS location in case of an emergency. Also, it comes with interchangeable straps with the choice between metal, leather and silicon that complements the look and style for every occasion. 

Timex is a traditional watchmaker that has throughout its journey worked on offering its consumers innovative and technologically advanced offering. Backed by American legacy and world class quality and looking at this immense potential, we at Timex have come out with watches that have synced perfectly well with consumer demands and trends, the most recent being the watches under the ‘connected style’ segment like Timex Metropolitan+, IQ+ Move and Timex Blink, which are perfect amalgamation of innovative technology, classic style and fitness to enhance consumers daily lifestyle. 

We believe, in 2018, the watch industry will boom at a rapid phase with a surge in the sales of smart watches that appeal to every eye. But every step forward faces challenges and this integration of wearable technology and fashion also deals with one. To provide a lifestyle offering, the brands shouldn’t compromise on its functionality and features for the sake of being cutting-edge. The idea is to identify the right opportunity and the balance to make the offering a desirable one. 

(Anupam Mathur is Head of Sales & Marketing at Timex Group India.)

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