Swiss watchmakers report they are seeing little effect, no effect or a positive effect from the rise of Apple’s Watch, depending on who you ask.
Almost nobody in the premium space thinks that the smartwatch is killing luxury timepieces. Far from it, in fact, the youth appeal of Apple Watch is rearing a fresh generation of potential customers that have switched from telling the time on their phones to checking their wrists.
That is one step closer to them maturing into mechanical watch customers.
Statistics support this theory. Since Apple Watch and many of its competitors launched, the value of Swiss watch exports has risen from CHF 19.5 billion in 2016 to 21.2 billion in 2018.
However, this optimism continues to be tested, with sales of Apple Watch and its rivals continuing to rocket.
According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartwatch shipments grew an impressive 44% annually to reach 12.3 million units in the second quarter of 2019.
To put that figure in context, Rolex most likely shipped around 250,000 watches in the same quarter, and Patek Philippe just 17,000.
Apple Watch maintained first position with a 46% share of the global smartwatch market, while Samsung returned to second place with 16%, and Fitbit slumped to third with under 10%.
Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, says: “Fitbit shipped 1.2 million smartwatches worldwide in Q2 2019, dipping from 1.3 million in Q2 2018. Fitbit captured 10% global smartwatch market share this quarter, slumping from 15% a year ago. Fitbit will have to move fast to execute a recovery, because Samsung, Garmin, Fossil and other competitors are keen to grab a slice of its valuable health and fitness customers.”