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Apple Watch outsells Swiss Watch industry

Time is running out for traditional watch-makers, says Strategy Analytics as research shows massive growth for smartwatches.

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Picture by William Hook.

Apple Watch outsold the entire Swiss watch industry by a huge margin in 2019, according to research from Strategy Analytics. Apple Watch shipped 31 million units worldwide in 2019, compared with 21 million for all Swiss watch brands combined.

“We estimate Apple Watch shipped 30.7 million units worldwide in 2019, growing a healthy 36 percent from 22.5 million in 2018,” said Steven Waltzer, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics. “A blend of attractive design, user-friendly tech and sticky apps makes the Apple Watch wildly popular in North America, Western Europe and Asia.”

Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, said the research firm estimated the entire Swiss watch industry together shipped 21.1 million units worldwide in 2019, falling 13 percent from 24.2 million in 2018.

“Analog wristwatches remain popular among older consumers, but younger buyers are tipping toward smartwatches and computerised wristwear,” he said.

Steven Waltzer, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, suggested that traditional Swiss watchmakers like Swatch and Tissot were 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,” he said. “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.”

The company previously found that wrist-worn fitness bands were a surprise hit in 2019 and it expected more growth in 2020.

“Consumers like their lightweight, low cost and increasingly sophisticated features,” Strategy Analytics reported. “China, US and Indonesia are among the largest markets worldwide.”

Exhibit 1: Global Apple Watch vs. Swiss Watch Industry Shipments in 2019 1

Global Wristwear Device Shipments (Millions of Units)20182019Growth YoY (%)
Apple Watch22.530.736%
Swiss Watch Industry24.221.1-13%

Source: Strategy Analytics

The full report, Apple Watch Outsells Entire Swiss Watch Industry in 2019, is published by the Strategy Analytics Wearable Device Ecosystems (WDE) service, details of which can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/yy6nsmzj.

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