Apple Watch helps smartwatches overtake Swiss watch shipments

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Get ready to see plenty more of these in the coming years.
The Apple Watch accounts for a 63 percent share of the smartwatch business.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Jony Ive memorably (allegedly) claimed that Swiss watchmakers were “f**ked” due to the arrival of the Apple Watch, and almost 18 months later it seems his prediction is a whole lot closer to coming true.

That’s because, according to new research from Strategy Analytics, global smartwatch shipments have overtaken Swiss watch shipments on a global basis for the first time ever.

See? This is why it’s a bad idea to bet against Jony!

In terms of numbers, global smartwatch shipments reached 8.1 million units in the last quarter of 2015, led mainly by the Apple Watch which accounts for more than 6 out of every 10 smartwatches shipped. Swiss watches, meanwhile, shipped 7.9 million units during that same period — representing a fall of 5 percent from the same period one year earlier.

Cliff Raskind, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “We estimate global smartwatch shipments reached 8.1 million units in Q4 2015, rising a healthy 316 percent from 1.9 million in Q4 2014. Smartwatches are growing rapidly in North America, Western Europe and Asia. Apple Watch captured an impressive 63 percent share of the global smartwatch market in Q4 2015, followed by Samsung with 16 percent. Apple and Samsung together account for a commanding 8 in 10 of all smartwatches shipped worldwide.”

According to Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, the Swiss watch industry has been very slow to react to the development of smartwatches.

“The Swiss watch industry has been sticking its head in the sand and hoping smartwatches will go away,” he says. “Swiss brands, like Tag Heuer, accounted for a tiny 1 percent of all smartwatches shipped globally during Q4 2015, and they are long way behind Apple, Samsung and other leaders in the high-growth smartwatch category.”

Given that they cater to different markets, Swiss watches are never going to go away — but this is another great example of why entrenched industries shouldn’t ever rest on their laurels regarding an assumed advantage over Apple.

You know, kind of like what some car-makers are doing now

Source: Strategy Analytics

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