Clocking Off! Sales of children’s watches plummet as 2.2 million kids learn time using a mobile phone

Sales of children’s watches plummet

British kids are struggling to tell the time using traditional analogue clocks, and have instead become increasingly reliant on their phone’s digital display. Almost half (49%) of 10-12 year olds have learnt to tell the time using a digital clock or mobile phone, rather than traditional methods.

The research by comes after a slump in sales of children’s watches, particularly analogue versions.

From 2010 – 2011, sales of children’s watches on fell by 37.5%. Last year, 1 in 3 children’s watches sold were analogue. So far, in 2011, digital children’s watches areoutselling analogue versions by 6 to 1.

When asked how they learnt to tell the time only half (51%) of 10-12 year old had learnt using an analogue clock. Almost 1 in 3 (38%) had learnt using a digital clock and a staggering2.2 million (15%) had been taught to tell the time using a mobile phone.

Methods have changed significantly since their parents learnt to tell the time, 81% of UK adults over 25 were taught using the traditional method of an analogue clock face.

When it comes to telling the time out and about, girls rely more on their phones than the boys, with 54% of 10-16 year old girls reaching for their mobile to keep an eye on the time, compared to just 41% of teenage boys.

By contrast, boys are much more likely to wear an analogue wristwatch, with 28% still utilising the traditional method, compared to just 19% of girls.

The research also suggests that girls are more likely to not be able to tell the time at all – 5% of girls polled could not tell the time compared to just 2% of boys.

The survey also revealed that 2% of adults have never learnt how to tell the time.

eBay spokesperson Ruth Szyszkowski said: “Young or old, we all know that when it comes to telling the time people check their phone, even if they happen to be wearing a watch! What we’ve been surprised at is that 1 in 2 children aren’t learning how to tell the time using a traditional clock face. We’ve seen the sales of children’s analogue watches decline on eBay as a result.”

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Notes to Editors:

Notes to editors

  • Figures relating to UK adults from sample size of 2000, poll carried out by OnePoll
  • Figures relating to UK children from sample size of 500, poll carried out by YoungPoll
  • Population figures extrapolated from 2001 Census data Source:


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