A few years back, I remember interviewing Jean-Claude Biver and asking how he thought smartwatches would impact the traditional watch industry. Biver insisted the innovation was positive, saying that he believed smartwatches “will bring the attention of young people back to the wrist”. In other words, they would persuade a new generation to start wearing watches once again.
Well, smartwatches certainly seem to have stimulated something. This piece from Business Insider reports that Apple shipped 31 million watches last year compared with the estimated 21.1 million shipped by the entire Swiss watch industry put together. That’s an astounding feat of leapfrogging by Apple. We reviewed the Series 5 model here.
“Analogue wristwatches remain popular among older consumers,” says Neil Mawston, Strategy Analytics’ executive director, in the article. “But younger buyers are tipping toward smartwatches and computerised wristwear.”
Three key facts from the story about Apple outselling the Swiss Watch Industry
- There is an established preference among younger consumers for smartwatches instead of traditional Swiss timepieces from the likes of Tag Heuer, Swatch, and Tissot.
- With its numerous health-related features, the Apple Watch has helped blur the lines between traditional wristwatches and health-specific wristwear such as Fitbits.
- This represented growth of 36% from 2018, when Apple shipped 22.5 million units. Shipments of Swiss watches fell 13%, down from 24.2 units million in 2018, Strategy Analytics estimated.
It’s a fascinating report that shows the times they are a-changin’ in the most literal sense. Read it here.
For our review of the latest Apple Watch, see Nick’s take here: