Death Knell for Watches

gold wtach.jpgBusiness Week reports on a new survey by Seiko that indicates that ownership of wrist watches has fallen from 70% in 1997 to only 46% today. Why? People use their mobiles to tell the time these days.

I’m sure this is a trend that’s happening in the West too, though perhaps not quite so fast. What will companies give retiring employees instead? Gold mobiles don’t have quite the same cachet.

Interestingly though, while shipments of new watches are down by 1/3 over the last decade in Japan, sales value has actually increased by 8%. People are buying more expensive watches, which seems to mean that the function of the watch is changing from a time piece to a fashion statement.

When industries start collapsing, it can happen very quickly. Just observe how¬†fast the stand-alone MP3 market disappears as a mass market proposition. If it hasn’t peaked last year, 2006 is the start of a market implosion.

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