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Apple shipped twice as many watches in Q1 as the whole Swiss industry combined

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Smartwatch sales grew by 20% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2020 to reach 14 million units, according to research by Strategy Analystics.

The entire Swiss watch industry exported 3.8 million watches in the first three months of the year while Apple shipped 7.6 million units, exactly double the whole of Switzerland.

Among smartwatch manufacturers, Apple Watches accounted for over half of all sales, with 55% of the global total in Q1.

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Samsung was second with 14% and Garmin with 8% rose to third after a 37.5% surge in shipments over Q1 in 2019.

The global lock down hit most developed nations in March, so the full effect of the Coronavirus pandemic is more likely to show in the second quarter, but Strategy Analytics suggests the smartwatch sector will outperform other consumer goods.

“Despite considerable headwinds from the Covid-19 scare, global demand for smartwatches continued to grow. Smartwatches are selling well through online retail channels, while many consumers have been using smartwatches to monitor their health and fitness during virus lockdown,” says Steven Waltzer, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics.

Smartwatches might continue to outperform competitors in the second quarter, but Strategy Analytics does expect them slow sharply. “Sales in Europe and the US have inevitably been hit by virus lockdown in recent months. However, the second half of this year and beyond will see a decent rebound, as consumers worldwide steadily regain confidence and more retail stores reopen. Smartwatches continue to have excellent long-term prospects, as younger and older people will become more health-conscious in a post-virus world. Smartwatches can monitor vital health signs, such as oxygen levels, and consumers may find comfort in having a virtual health assistant strapped to their wrist,” predicts Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics.

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder