Have Mobile Smartphones Killed Watch Sales?
April 3, 2015
Some say that the smartphone has made the watch extinct. When was the last time you saw a twenty year old wearing a watch that wasn't a fashion statement? You probably haven't. Smartphones are the new pocket watch; they stay out of sight and out of mind. Users want a well-rounded device that performs a variety of functions. Using smartphones as social hubs has become the norm with people under 40 that insist on staying updated with their favourite social media.
A watch is an accessory that many teenagers have never owned. A 2006 Piper Jaffray & Co study found that almost two-thirds of teens have never worn a watch regularly. Approximately one in ten of the other third wears a watch everyday. They rely on their mobile phones to tell the time instead of watches.
Wearing a watch is a learned behaviour, and many people are learning to use their smartphones instead. Most teenagers and many adults don't want to worry about one more purchase in their lives, nor do they need one extra gadget to bring when they leave in the morning. Other studies confirm these findings. Experian Simmons Research discovered that only 19% of American adults bought a watch in 2011, whereas 25% of adults bought a watch in 2005. Watch sales have declined steadily.
This same period saw the rapid rise of cellphone purchases, suggesting that many watch sales were indeed made as a fashion statement rather than to serve a functional need. While inflation played its part, the increase of nearly $20 in the average watch price also speaks to this reality. People usually buy watches because they can afford to them.
Will watches disappear entirely? They almost certainly won't, despite their fall from prominence. Many people use a watch when they enter the workforce, as this is a more discrete and acceptable way to check the time without seeming unprofessional. This tactic is useful for business meetings, for instance. Strictly functional watches are currently few and far between.
People often don't want to check the time: they want the time to check on them. The combination of an agenda loaded with alarms on a smartphone is another feature of the transition away from the watch. Smartphones help countless people avoid missing meetings or deadlines by providing them with messages and alerts that keep them on track. Mobile hotspots are not required for these alerts, so users don't need to be connected online. Simply glancing at a watch doesn't guarantee punctual and articulate notifications!
While the old method of watchmaking no longer holds its same luster, major service providers use new fashions and technologies to make watches vogue once more. While the old makeup of watches might be extinct, new ideas are giving the watch new purpose in the modern era. Major hardware companies have recently devised ways to implement smartphone operating systems into wearable devices.
Have mobile phones killed watch sales? They appear to have forced watches to adapt to the era of digital devices. They now sport functions that have made mobile phones so attractive to users of all ages. Some of the newest watches connect to mobile hotspots to provide a similar level of service to the smartphone but in a much smaller package. Of course, these watches are small and can only perform a fraction of the services a smartphone can. Only time will tell if these new forms of watches will be a success.