Traditional watches once again captured nearly two-thirds of industry dollars in Q1 2019. According to the March 2019 Watch Total Market Report from The NPD Group, smartwatch sales surpassed that of traditional watches during the 2018 holiday quarter, while traditional watches have otherwise represented the majority of the market’s annual sales.
“Traditional, standalone watches are asserting their relevance in a changing market,” says Reginald Brack, watches and luxury industry analyst for The NPD Group. “While smartwatches deliver seemingly endless capabilities and continue to be an important source of growth for the overall watch market, they aren’t replacing the value many consumers still place on traditional timepieces.”
Consumers spent more than $9 billion on watches in the 12 months ending March 2019, nearly $5 billion of which was on traditional, standalone watches. While traditional watches are facing some growth challenges, some segments are delivering significant dollar gains to the industry. Sales of mechanical and 40mm watches both grew by double digits over the past year. Watches incorporating precious metals also grew by double digits in the last 12 months, due in part to challenges with sourcing many popular stainless steel models.
“Consumers are focused on more manageable sized, precious metal watches, and the human-powered mechanical options are outperforming their battery-powered brethren,” Brack says. “The consumer is becoming better educated about the work, craftsmanship, and detail involved in creating and manufacturing a living, breathing mechanical movement, resulting in an exciting opportunity for manufacturers.”