Is the decline in sales of Swiss watches related to smart watches?

- Apr 03, 2019-

As the current classic mainstream in the wristwatch industry, Swiss watches are as well-known as Swiss banks worldwide. It can be said that Swiss watches are one of the important sources of national pride among the people of Switzerland. But in recent years, the emergence of smart watches has brought a lot of impact to the traditional watch market, of which Apple's Apple Watch has the greatest impact.

Swiss watches have been in a state of decline recently, although not as crazy as free fall, but the trend has not changed. According to the analysis report on market prospects and investment strategic planning of the watch industry by the Institute of Prospective Industries, Swiss watch exports totaled only 1.9 million in August 2016, a decrease of 4.5% compared with the same period last year. In terms of financial performance, sales fell by nearly 9% to 1.4 billion Swiss francs, and Swiss watches have fallen for 14 consecutive months.

As you can see from the chart below, Apple's first generation of Apple Watch was officially shipped in April 2015, with limited initial supply. But by June 2015, Apple Watch had ample capacity and began to catch up with demand. From then on to now, it coincides with the decline in Swiss watches shipments.

Just last October, the export volume of Swiss watch industry declined the most in 2016, with 1.677 billion Swiss francs, a 16.4% year-on-year decline. At present, Swiss watches industry's total exports have fallen by 11% since 2016.

Traditional watches, as the current classic mainstream in the wrist and watch field, still firmly control the hearts of most "watch controllers" with exquisite watchmaking technology and design level.

Behind the high quality and high price of Swiss watches is consumers'recognition of historical heritage and precise handicraft technology. Smart watches, as a rapidly updated consumer electronic product, are difficult to challenge Swiss high-end watches as luxury goods and identity symbols.

Moreover, Swiss watch industry will not face the trend of smart watches. Many Swiss watch brands have released smart watchbands, retaining the traditional hand-made watch heads, which once again reflects the unity of upholding tradition and adapting to the future. Therefore, in the future, we are more likely to see the intelligent Swiss watches, rather than smart watches replacing traditional Swiss watches.

Today, Swiss watchmaker is facing a series of adverse factors, and smart watch sales in the second quarter also showed a sharp downward trend. Therefore, the traditional watch industry and smart watch development will face some difficulties, but this is only temporary.