Editorial: New Reports That Smartwatches Pose Heightened Threat To Swiss Watch Industry May Paint Misleading Picture

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Those figures would seem to paint a pretty miserable picture, and CNET notes that smartwatch sales for 2016 could hit $11.5 billion this year , with Apple leading the way. Neither Apple nor Samsung break out smartwatch sales figures specifically, yet as per TechCrunch , Apple currently is estimated to have over half market share, with Android smartwatches representing less than 10% of the remainder.

However, however Swiss watches may not be beating smartwatches in sheer numbers, the Swiss watch industry – while admittedly undergoing some significant challenges on account of components as varied as a sensational drop in sales in China and the consequences of unpegging the Swiss Franc from the Euro – is still far ahead of the smartwatch market in sales value. Figures from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH showed all out sales a year ago of about 22.5 billion CHF – nearly double what the smartwatch market could earn if this year is its best year ever. Moreover, those figures are export figures, while the figures from CNET are retail – so the divergence is even more dramatic.

While it's true that these are challenging times for the Swiss watch industry for some reasons, the Strategy Analytics report isn't an indication of the death knell for Swiss watchmaking by any means.

It seems intuitively evident that smartwatch sales ought to be harming sales of Swiss, and other, mechanical watches, yet the genuine effect is very difficult to capture and in all likelihood varies drastically with so much factors as price segment, geographic region, etc. While the facts confirm that these are challenging times for the Swiss watch industry for some reasons, the Strategy Analytics report is anything but an indication of the death knell for Swiss watchmaking using any and all means. Absent some other information, all it really tells us is that people are purchasing a ton of smartwatches. What’s more, given the way that at any rate in some cases, that means people who weren’t interested in watches at all are currently getting into them, it might even bode well for the Swiss watch industry over the long run.

Check out our latest coverage of the Apple Watch here .

For our underlying contemplations on the Apple Watch at dispatch, click here .

To watch Kevin Rose’s review of the TAG Heuer Connected smartwatch, click here .

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