According to data from Strategy Analytics, brands like Tag Heuer, Tissot and Swatch were left in the dust last year, with Apple shipping 31 million units – a 36% jump from 2018. Meanwhile, the Swiss watch industry combined managed just 21.1 million shipments, representing a drop of 13%.
Although the Swiss watch industry has been bested before in quarterly sales, this is the first time Apple’s smartwatch has kept up the domination for an entire year.
As described by Steven Waltzer, an analyst at Strategy Analytics, “Traditional Swiss watchmakers, 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.”
And though these figures aren’t completely confirmed, since Apple doesn’t officially disclose them, and Strategy Analytics has instead gathered them by seeking out data from vendors and retail partners, the estimates do fit with the quarterly trends we saw over 2019.
In Q4 2019 alone, Tim Cook reported that Apple’s Wearables, Home and Accessories sector delivered $10 billion worth of revenue – overtaking the Mac’s contribution for the first time.
Could this spell the beginning of the end for traditional watchmakers? Time will tell, but the evidence suggests the fight is only going in one direction.