Apple Watch Outsells Entire Swiss Watch Industry in 2019

Apple Watch Outsells Entire Swiss Watch Industry in 2019
Apple Watch Series 5 (Photo: CNET)

Apple Watch sold more units in 2019 than all Swiss watch manufacturers combined, according to a report released last week by the U.S. market research firm Strategy Analytics.

Apple shipped almost 31 million units last year, while the entire Swiss watch industry shipped a little over 21 million.

Steven Waltzer, Senior Analyst  at Strategy Analytics, said the number of Apple Watches sold in 2019 had increased by 36% from  22.5 million in 2018.

He pointed out that the Apple Watch’s success was due to “a blend of attractive design, user-friendly tech, and sticky apps makes the Apple Watch wildly popular in North America, Western Europe, and Asia,” adding that “analog wristwatches remain popular among older consumers, but younger buyers are tipping toward smartwatches and computerized wristwear.”

Meanwhile, Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, said the number of Swiss watches exported fell 13%, from 24.2 million in 2018. The industry’s largest markets are Hong Kong, the US, and Mainland China, followed by Japan and the UK.

“Traditional Swiss watch makers, like Swatch and Tissot, are losing the smartwatch wars,” Waltzer said. “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. Time may be running out for Swatch, Tissot, TAG Heuer, and others,” Waltzer added.

The base model of the latest Apple Watch Series 5, the 2019 version of Apple's popular smartwatch, sports an aluminum case. Consumers can buy it with GPS only (no cellular plan) for $399, or GPS + Cellular for $499. A stainless steel version of the watch is available for $699, while a titanium-case version starts at $799.