Sunday, July 10, 2011

Watch for Fads

I wear a wristwatch. Been doing it each day since well before 2006, when The Sacramento Bee predicted the wristwatch was going the way of the abacus. I don’t do it to meet more people, even though in 2005, the Boston Globe said, “Anyone who needs to know the time these days would be wise to ask someone over the age of 30.” Yep, I’m over 30.
     I wear a timepiece because I keep to a tight schedule—appointments, submission deadlines, travel commitments, interval training at the gym—and it’s easier for me to frequently look at my wrist than to repeatedly pull a mobile device out of my pocket.
     A recent New York Times feature which yielded those really nifty quotes from The Bee and Globe also described other functions of wristwatches, aside from telling time. “Really nifty”? Yep, I’m clearly over 30.
     The NYT says wristwatches are enjoying a renaissance by serving as unusual jewelry and as mechanical chic. Sales of moderately-priced watches have risen about 15% over the past three months. Luxury watch sales have climbed more than twice that much. Swatch Group Ltd. saw net profits rise 42% in 2010. That’s especially astounding when you realize the 42% growth was for a company which is already the world’s largest watchmaker.
     Should you carry wristwatches, retailer? If so, select your mix based on what functions the watches would serve for the customers you serve. Diesel manufactures a model for the show-off. The face is twice the size of the classic standard watch’s. Casio’s aiming for the surfer and skateboard demographic with rainbow-colored models. J. Crew is selling straightforward Timex models to match the spirit of classic simplicity in their other merchandise offerings.
     Also ask yourself if the wristwatch renaissance is a fad. Consumer psychologists define a fad item as one where popularity explodes and then dies suddenly. With fads, just like with wristwatches themselves, success can be in the timing. Stock up too late and you’ll not only miss out on the profitability from the period of explosive sales, but you’ll get stuck with unsold products.
     Timepieces being sold as jewelry or curios remind me of another item for the wrist—Silly Bandz, those colored silicone bracelets, each of which would take on the shape of an interesting object, character, or word, when not being worn. Sales of Silly Bandz peaked and promptly evaporated.

Click below for more:
Strategize for Fad Item Profits
Attend to the Zeitgeist

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