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Apple Watch takes a bite out of the Swiss watch industry

February 5, 2020.

Apple Watch Nike.

Apple Watch Nike Series 5. © Apple.

Apple Watch is not only the best-selling smartwatch in the world, but also the best-selling watch, period. Accoding to Strategy Analytics, Apple sold almost 31 million units in 2019, an increase of 36% over 2018, while the entire Swiss watch industry, which includes timeless brands like Rolex, Swatch, Breitling, Breguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Omega, TAG Heuer, Zenith, Blancpain, Patek Philippe, etc., sold just 21.1 million units, 13% less than in 2018. And the trend is not about to change, since younger consumers have no time for analog timepieces, while the Swiss industry has no chance of competing with Apple on the smartwatch front. The situation reminds us of the camera industry, which was devastated by the rise of smartphones. The Camera and Imaging Products Association (CIPA, a Japanese association of camera builders) says that 2019 was a bad year for camera and lens sales, and that 2020 will be even worse. Total sales of digital cameras declined by 21.7% in 2019, to 15 million units; projections for 2020 predict 11.7 million units sold, another drop of 23.3%.

Strategy Analytics, “Apple Watch outsells the entire Swiss Watch industry in 2019.”

Inside Imaging, “CIPA: The incredible shrinking camera market gets smaller!.”