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Watches and Black Friday: It’s That Time of Year Again

Yes, like it or not it’s that time of year again. Tomorrow marks Black Friday™, that semi-official holiday marking the occasion of a mass orgy of rampant consumer retail spending on the beginning of the holiday shopping season.

Below is a capture from Google Trends showing a rough history of queries to the search engine for the term “watches.”  There is a clear and distinct spike in search traffic for “watches” right about this time of year.

Snip from Google Trends for search term "watches"

Snip from Google Trends for the search term "watches." Note the cyclic spike late in every year.

The distinct spike at the end of the year in search traffic perhaps comes as little surprise, as the wristwatch has become perhaps one of very few opportunities to display sentimentality and uniqueness in modern men’s fashion, and like neckties watches have long been especially popular gifts for men. As well, online outlets have become increasingly popular, even if only for information with specific regard to Swiss luxury brands that eschew online sales as part of maintaining an exclusive brand images.

Note as well the precipitous dropoff last year in search traffic for “watches,” perhaps indicative of the downturn in consumer spending.

Obviously, this spike in search traffic can be a great thing if you’re a watch seller with an established web presence that allows you to rank well for search terms advantageous in your niche.

The Economist's alternative Big Mac Index, showing the differences in varying locations for the average time needed to earn enough to purchase enough to buy a Big Mac as a rough, tongue-in0cheek comparison of purchasing power parity.

The Economist's alternative Big Mac Index, showing the differences in varying locations for the average time needed to earn enough to purchase enough to buy a Big Mac as a rough, tongue-in0cheek comparison of purchasing power parity.

It will be interesting to see later what this year’s spike ends up looking like. Much like the informal Big Mac Index that serves as an entertaining if perhaps invalid from a strict economic theory standpoint, the traffic for “watches” might approximate a rough bellwether for the wider economy.

A spike of renewed gravity could well serve as rough indicator of the wider economic turnaround the world is still awaiting, and perhaps renewed strength in the watch market as well. Wait and see.

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