The Swiss watch industry may not have entered another ice age just yet but it appears that winter has arrived. The latest report from Strategy Analytics has found that smartwatch shipments topped those of traditional Swiss watches for the first time in Q4 2015. It estimates that 8.1 million smartwatches shipped while Swiss watch shipments hit 7.9 million units. While the former category saw shipments jump an impressive 316 percent over Q4 2014, the latter saw its shipments fall 4.8% over the same time.
Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “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. 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.”
While the Swiss industry may have been slow to react to date, there are signs that it is starting to adjust to a reality where consumers are increasingly turning to wearables. Some Swiss watchmakers have started to offer connected watches. Among these are the Breitling Exospace B55 Connected, the Mondaine Helvetica No 1 Smart and the Frédérique Constant Horological Smartwatch. Other companies are jumping in as well. For example, Victorinox announced a partnership with Acer just yesterday while Tissot is bringing its first smartwatch to Baselworld 2016.
Unsurprisingly, Apple dominated smartwatch shipments. Strategy Analytics estimates that the Apple Watch accounted for 63% of all shipments with Samsung following with 16%.
Swiss watch exports experienced their biggest decline in years in October 2015. While smartwatch sales are certainly a contributing factor, the downturn in the world’s economy in recent months has also contributed to the decline in sales.
Source : Strategy Analytics