When we think of watches, the first thing that comes to mind is telling the time. But for many people, a watch is so much more than just a timepiece.

It is a fashion accessory that can say a lot about the person wearing it. People use watches to enhance their style and show off their personalities. For many, they are nothing less than a piece of jewelry and often a status symbol.

Watches come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and can range from very inexpensive, functional models to those that are exorbitantly priced works of art. Watches can be analog, digital and smart. Smartwatches can connect to the internet and make a range of services available to the user.

So, who constitutes the target market for watches? And what are their prime motivators behind purchasing the watch of their choice?

These are some of the questions we will answer in this article.

Keep reading!

Target Market for Watches
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The Target Market for Watches: Segmentation of Watches

There are numerous types of watches on the market and just as many ways with which to segment the target market for watches based on the type of watch.

But when clubbed together we can segment watches based on these characteristics:

  1. Display
  2. Style
  3. Working
  4. Power
  5. Function

Let’s look at these.


A watch’s display is its most obvious feature and is an important factor in anyone’s purchase of a watch. If the display isn’t clear enough, or isn’t legible enough, or simply isn’t to the consumer’s liking, they will need some other overpowering reason to buy that watch.

The type of display also matters. Displays can be analog or digital or a combination of both. In the ’80s and the ’90s, digital displays were all the rage with the popular Casio digital watch. Then the pendulum swung back towards traditional analog displays but with the advent of smartwatches digital displays are making a comeback.


As we will see in the next section, for many, a watch is more than a timepiece. It is a personal statement of style, fashion and of luxury.

Certain watches are designed to go well with formal or business attire. Others are made by some of the largest fashion houses in the world and someone wearing a suit of a specific brand may also prefer a watch from the same brand.

Other watches have a deliberate cool feel to them and are made to match a casual dressing style.


Many consumers will select a watch based on its internal working mechanism. Some watches use quartz crystals, some use springs and others use automatic winding. Watch aficionados can be very particular about the type of movement their watch has and some even buy watches based on the movement alone!


A watch’s power source is another important factor in its purchase. Some watches are solar powered while others require batteries that need to be regularly replaced.

A battery is what powers a digital watch. And many smartwatches need to be regularly charged like any other electronic device. So, this is an important consideration for people who want a watch that doesn’t require regular winding or replacement batteries.


Apart from the basic function of telling the time, watches can do a lot more.

Some watches have alarm features, others have stopwatch functions, and still others have countdown timers. Smartwatches have heart rate monitors and GPS trackers. Other watches are made specifically for certain sports – like diving, sailing, running, swimming, etc.

Many consumers now buy a watch mainly for a specific function while the ability to tell time is a secondary buying criterion.

Target Market for Watches
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The Target Market for Watches: The Reasons why People Buy Watches

The Target Market for Watches can be segmented based on the reasons why people buy watches. Segmenting based on purchase motivation allows watchmakers to introduce products that appeal to the desires of each segment.

While there are many different (often overlapping) reasons why someone buys a watch, here are the most common ones:

  1. To Tell Time
  2. As a Fashion Statement
  3. For Special Occasions
  4. As a Gift
  5. As a Sports Accessory
  6. An an Ornament
  7. For Sentimental Reasons
  8. To Commemorate an Event or Anniversary
  9. As an Investment

Let’s look closely at each of these reasons why someone buys a watch.

1. To Tell Time

Many people simply buy a watch for the most obvious of reasons – to tell the time! A watch is a convenient way to keep track of time without having to take out your phone. This target market for watches is typically more price-sensitive and looks for functional features like water resistance and durability.

2. As a Fashion Statement

A watch can also be a very fashionable accessory, and oftentimes people will buy watches specifically because they like the way it looks. Watches come in all shapes and sizes, with a variety of different straps and materials, so there’s something for everyone. This target market is often willing to pay more for a watch that catches their eye.

When the target market for watches is segmented based on price, watches which are a fashion statement are always categorized in the premium price segment.

3. For Special Occasions

Some people buy watches specifically for formal events like weddings or black-tie galas. A nice watch can be a great addition to an outfit. Watches that are designed for special occasions typically are premium watches and can include diamonds and other jewels.

4. As a Gift

Watches make popular gifts for all sorts of occasions, from Christmas to birthdays to Father’s Day. A nice watch is often a practical gift that the recipient can use and enjoy for years to come. Plus, there are so many different styles of watches available that it’s easy to find one that will fit the personality of the person for whom the purchase is being made.

And so the target market for watches can be easily classified based on occasion, with new models released specifically to target a certain occasion.

5. As a Sports Accessory

Some people buy watches specifically as sports accessories. There are watches designed for almost every sport imaginable, from running to golfing to surfing. These watches often have special features like compasses, altimeters and calorie counters that can help you track your progress.

When marketing sports watches, marketers often tout the benefits that the watch will bring to the user’s performance. Such benefit segmentation is an easy way to target individuals who practice a specific sport with a watch made for that sport.

6. As an Ornament

For many people, watches are more than just timepieces – they’re decorations too! Watches with intricate designs or unique materials can be beautiful pieces of art that are worth collecting. This target market is often willing to pay a high price for a rare or exclusive watch.

Many people have the need to wear ornaments. And an ornamental watch can be no different than an expensive piece of jewelry. In fact, one of the important segments of the jewelry market is luxury jewelry. And a watch that is designed as a piece of jewelry can go well with an expensive necklace or a pair of diamond earrings.

7. For Sentimental Reasons

Watches can also be purchased as sentimental items. Some people buy models of watches that belonged to their grandparents. Others purchase watches to commemorate and remember special occasions like births, marriages, and deaths.

Watches are even given as tokens of affection or friendship. This opens up a whole new world of opportunity for watchmakers to create unique and personalized watches.

8. To Commemorate an Event or Anniversary

Many people buy watches to commemorate special events or milestones in their lives. Watches are a great way to remember important moments, and they often come with unique features that can make them extra special. Anniversary watches are a popular category for this target market. In many companies, it is customary to give a watch as a gift to someone who is retiring after having been with the company for a long time.

9. As an Investment

Finally, some people buy watches as investments. Watches are tangible assets that can often be worth more than their initial purchase price and can be passed on from generation to generation.

Certain rare and exclusive watches can even be worth millions of dollars. This target market is typically interested in investment-grade watches that have high resale values.


The target market for watches is much more diverse than just people who need to tell time.

People buy watches based on different characteristics like the watch’s display, its style, its internal working mechanism, how it is powered, and the various features and functionality it offers.

Watches are bought as gifts, sports accessories, ornaments, sentimental items, and investments. Each of these markets has its own unique needs that marketers must cater to in order to be successful.

Understanding the true motivation that each consumer has behind the purchase of a new watch is necessary for marketers to decide what types of watches to market and how to market them to their ideal target audience.