January 29, 2017
by Ariel Adams
Much of the time, surveys exist to prove what people already know but need numbers and data to support. I’d say that was more or less true of the aBlogtoWatch Audience Survey, which we completed right at the end of 2016. Of course, that isn’t to say we didn’t learn anything new, but we feel newly confident in saying that our community is probably the most dedicated and sophisticated set of pure watch-loving individuals around the world.
In the original post where we invited our audience members to take the survey (here), I made sure to take special care and explain to everyone precisely why it is that we wanted people to dedicate 15 or so minutes of their time to telling us a bit more about themselves, their lifestyles, as well as their tastes in watches. Being open with our audience was crucial to me as I strongly dislike it when people aren’t given a solid explanation for what their data is being used for, and why asking them directly is the only valid way of getting it. Such data not only helps us stay on the right path in terms of the editorial and coverage we produce, but also to best understand how to approach advertisers. I do want to reinforce what I just said since I think it is important: a lot of things a business can learn about their users/customers/visitors can only be determined by asking them. Automated tools that exist out there can be excellent for certain things, but often fail when it comes to actually taking a true snapshot of what individuals are like.
In my 10 years running a media company (which feels strange to say, but it’s true), I’ve seen numerous “report cards” and statistics from automated sources such as online tools purporting to tell people about themselves. Many media publications and companies put too much emphasis on such “estimated data,” in my opinion, leading to situations where company owners and managers rely on information which is just inaccurate. Perhaps that is too much “inside baseball talk” for some people, but yes, a lot of decisions are being made about you, the consumer, from estimates stemming from data that you might very well take serious issue with in terms of judging its quality. That is a very long way of me once again saying thank you to the roughly 4,900 people who participated in the aBlogtoWatch audience survey. Moreover, I think all of us on the team were flattered at how many people reported to actually enjoy taking the survey, and how no one seemed to be bothered by even a single question.
Personally, I was getting worried toward the end of the survey since I promised to obtain a certain number of Oris watches for winners we would choose, depending on the volume of overall participants. That was our way of once again thanking everyone for not only taking the time to participate in the survey, but also for making aBlogtoWatch their home on the internet for all things watches. I’d like to congratulate the winners of the four Oris watches we gave out who are: Michael T. from Arlington, Virginia; Charlie G. from Chicago, Illinois; John G. from Canton, Michigan; and Van W. from Los Angeles, CA.
What became very clear within the first day of running the audience survey was that the aBlogtoWatch audience really wanted to hear about the results. Given that we were collecting some sensitive information such as income as well as people’s e-mail addresses, it was important for us to collect and process the data before putting it together in a shareable way for the audience who I think deserves to know what their fellow aBlogtoWatch visitors are like. Even though people from 111 countries all over the planet with various backgrounds, tastes, and lifestyles participated in the survey, I think if we could somehow put the aBlogtoWatch audience together in a giant conference (and it would be massive), they would probably discover that they have a ton of things in common in addition to all being pretty serious watch lovers.
The rest of this article will attempt to distil some of the various questions we asked into key takeaway messages about who the aBlogtoWatch audience is and the role that aBlogtoWatch plays in the course of their passion for watches. To start, I’d like to use our survey findings to paint an imaginary picture about the average aBlogtoWatch audience member to see how familiar this person sounds to the living and breathing community who both did and did not participate in the survey. Here goes…
Our archetypal “aBlogtoWatcher” is male (about 98% of the audience), aged between 30-50 years old (over 58% fall into this category) is married (59% are) but is just slightly less likely to have children (52% don’t). That probably means his life is a bit more stable, and he tends to have more available disposable income than a lot of people. More on that in a moment. Education is something he takes pride in as he has a four-year degree, post-graduate, or even doctorate degree (together making up 77% of the audience). His education isn’t just formal. He is a very worldly person as he not only probably speaks more than one language (59% do), but also travels internationally away from home on a regular basis (69%). There is even a good chance he lives somewhere other than where he grew up (54%), and probably owns the home he lives in (63%).
aBlogtoWatchers represent a much larger than average set of people who are gainfully employed in management, sole or co-business owners, or merely independently wealthy (together 46% of respondents). If they are younger (under 25), virtually all of them are in the process of being educated and in school – likely destined for a similar life path. Regardless of their job or career, the aBlogtoWatch man is typically pretty well-off. Far more than 1% of them represent “the 1%,” and virtually all aBlogtoWatchers have disposable incomes (95%). There is even a pretty good chance he is very satisfied with his disposable income and doesn’t desire more (39% are satisfied with the amount of their disposable income), despite having some pretty expensive purchasing habits.
Even though the number-one reason people decide not to buy a watch at any particular time is that they devote their disposable income to something else more compelling at the moment (34% report as such, and only 27% say it is because they can’t afford the watch), an amazing 33% of aBlogtoWatchers spend more of their disposable income on watches than any other single item.
Hopefully, it goes without saying that aBlogtoWatchers are watch owners, as well as watch lovers. With 0.2% report not owning even a single watch, only a scant 3% of survey respondents say their current watch collection consists of only one piece. Chances are that the aBlogtoWatch man owns between 2-10 watches (74%), but a decent number of aBlogtoWatchers can own between 11 and up to over 50 of them (22%). Finally, the aBlogtoWatch man is “upwardly mobile” in his watch acquisition habits, reporting that his next watch will be more expensive than his last one (79% intend as such). So, how much does the aBlogtoWatch man relate to you?
It probably shouldn’t surprise anyone that the aBlogtoWatch audience, as mostly men, are primarily interested in men’s watches (94%). Even though 67% of people say that they purchase watches as gifts for others, only 6% reporting being “interested” in both men’s and women’s watches. Clearly, buying watches for yourself or other men is easier than trying to purchase watches for women.
As many as 98% of the survey respondents purchased a watch recently. The vast majority of watches that aBlogtoWatch audience members purchase are brand new (76% are). Not nearly as many watches purchased by them are pre-owned (18% are), and only a few aBlogtoWatch audience members engage in trading for watches with others (1%). Consider us curious as to where the reported 5% of watches that are acquired via “other options” come from…
aBlogtoWatch audience members purchase watches from a variety of retailers, in a variety of places – seeming to focus on practicality, convenience, and safety. 15% report purchasing watches online, but at the same time, 52% report that most of the watches they purchase are shipped to them from somewhere other than where they live. This means they formed a relationship or engaged in a transaction with a distant watch retailer. Those that prefer to purchase watches while traveling represent 10%, and 38% have a good assortment of watches locally and report buying watches where they live.
I think it is safe to say that aBlogtoWatchers are smart consumers who plan what they want in advance and take their time waiting for the right item to come along at the right price. 30% report feeling comfortable waiting to purchase a watch they want until the right opportunity comes along. Further, an overwhelming number of aBlogtoWatchers do not consider watches to be impulse buys. Only 4% say that they spend up to a week making a decision to buy a watch they want, with most taking longer to form a relationship with that perfect piece. 20% need up to a month before making a purchase decision, and another 37% tend to require up to six months. 23% can take up to a year before making a watch purchase decision, and 17% say that it takes them over a year.
This means that aBlogtoWatchers appreciate the importance of making a good decision on a watch that they really want. It also means that watch brands seeking their attention and business need to consider marketing and communication from a long-term approach. Despite that fact, 56% of aBlogtoWatchers readily point out that the watch advertising they see doesn’t seem to designed to appeal to people like them. My takeaway message here is that watch marketers have a lot of improvements to make in appealing to aBlogtoWatch audience members and the many people out there just like them.
aBlogtoWatchers are purchasing what you might say are “luxury watches.” There are some audience members who report spending more than $150,000 on a single watch, and 11% buy watches priced at $10,000 and more. The “sweet spot” price for most watches purchased on average seems to be $1,000 – $6,000, which represents 61% of total respondents. Only about 16% of the audience has spent no more than $500 on a watch.