Women and the Rise of Analog Watches

Our tech constantly bombards us with notifications, alerts, and messages, distracting us and shortening our attention spans. So, is it any wonder that analog watches, with their old-school ticking movements, are making a comeback among women who are seeking a respite from the constant barrage of notifications and digital data collection?

For many, the shift towards analog is a form of self-care. The relief of having one less reason to pull out a smartphone is a common refrain. Others are driven to them by concerns about the amount of data being collected on them through digital trackers. Anne Huntington Sharma, an executive in Sioux Falls, S.D. notes that “we’re already too connected” and she doesn’t want to model tech-obsessed behavior for her kids.

Dana Li of Tell the Time, an online watch resource for women, argues that the rise of high-tech timepieces may have helped fuel sales of analog watches. With people already comfortable with the idea of wearing a watch daily, they may be more open to considering an analog watch as a lifestyle choice.

In 2019, women constituted nearly 55% of global watch-market sales, according to a report by Allied Market Research. And according to Quaid Walker, one of the co-founders of Bezel, a new marketplace for authenticated pre-owned watches, many of their first-time buyers are women.

But it’s not just practical concerns that are driving the trend. Analog watches are becoming freshly cool. Celebrities like Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Ina Garten, and Rihanna have been spotted sporting classic watch brands such as Rolex, Hermès, and Cartier. Watch blogger Brynn Wallner, the founder of Dimepiece, has found that her Instagram followers respond to candid photos of watch-wearing celebrities.

So how can watch retailers and brands capitalize on the explosion of interest from women? Here are a few of our thoughts.

1. Leverage the Authentic Borrowed Equity that Influencers Provide

Millennials and Gen Zers are far more likely to be inspired by engaging social content than other forms of advertising. Partnering with several influencers that like watches and would truly enjoy your products is a great way to introduce a whole new group of consumers to your brand.

2. Enhance Your Presentation

One of the best ways to turn a shopper into an advocate is through fantastic packaging. The theater around a beautifully and thoughtfully packaged watch is undeniable – as it creates a sense of suspense and excitement. It also creates an experience that the shopper enjoys and will want to share with others.

3. Provide Detailed Online Product Pages

Research shows that the best online experiences for fashion, jewelry, and accessories is to show a mix of product focused images as well as images of people wearing the product. Furthermore, consumers that make it to a product page are far more likely to care about the unique selling points of a watch – whether it is the intricate movement, the brands history, or the inspiration behind its design.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Target Multiple Small Audiences

Your watches don’t need to be everything to everyone. In fact, figuring out the various niche audiences that best respond to your products will help you drive sales more effectively and efficiently than broad targeting. Enact test and learn programs at smaller scale to learn as much as you can about your audience and then expand your efforts leveraging the best performing audiences to drive conversion.