How Apple Watch beat the entire the Swiss watch industry
There was a time when one of the most sought after items in the world was a timepiece made by a Swiss watchmaker. For over a hundred years Swiss watches have been the mark of high-status and, consequently, most popular with those seeking to get their hands on a beautiful new watch to adorn their wrist. But if the latest report from market research company Strategy Analytics is anything to go by, the Apple Watch is sticking a long dagger through the heart of the Swiss industry, and twisting it at that.
Although this may seem to be a hyperbole of sorts, the SA report states that the tech behemoth has sold more Apple Watch units last year than every watchmaker in Switzerland combined. World-famous Swiss companies such as Tag Heuer, Swatch, Tissot and all the others, were not only beaten by Apple, but were blown out of the water by the Apple Watch.
The SA numbers show that a total of 30.7 million Apple Watches were shipped in 2019 as compared to the entirety of the Swiss watch industry’s 21.1 million units globally. To drive the point home, Apple Watch shipments spiked 36 percent from 2018, whereas Swiss deliveries of watches dropped by 13 percent.
It’s worth noting that Strategy Analytics had to do their own research to arrive at the reported figures, due to the fact that Apple itself doesn’t publicize its sales records freely. Regardless of this factor, 2019 is the year that Apple finally offered their popular gadget below the 200 US dollar mark, specifically the Apple Watch Series 3, which likely contributed to the huge margin in last year’s unit sales between the aforementioned competitors.
Steven Waltzer, a senior researcher at Strategy Analytics, said the Apple Watch's popularity could be attributed to “a blend of attractive design, user-friendly tech, and sticky apps [that] make the Apple Watch wildly popular in North America, Western Europe, and Asia.” He also went on to add that “analog wristwatches remain popular among older consumers, but younger buyers are tipping toward smartwatches and computerized wristwear.”
But his closing statement was the most sullen for the watchmakers of Switzerland. He went on to say “Traditional Swiss watch makers, like Swatch and Tissot, are losing the smartwatch wars. Apple Watch is delivering a better product through deeper retail channels and appealing to younger consumers who increasingly want digital wristwear. The window for Swiss watch brands to make an impact in smartwatches is closing. Time may be running out for Swatch, Tissot, TAG Heuer, and others.”
Is it safe to say that Switzerland’s watch industry is dying and will never return to its former glory? This is doubtful, as the country’s timepieces will always have a place in the heart of those who enjoy exemplary, well-crafted wristwatches. But it cannot be disputed that Swiss watches are now riding in the back seat of the industry.