Launch of the Apple Watch leads to a decline in Swiss Watch exports


While there have been questions about how well the Apple Watch is selling, there is one group that will attest to its popularity. The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FSWI) reported that the 8.9% drop in Swiss watch exports between April and May of this year, was the largest monthly decline since November 2009.

While currency changes can affect how strong Swiss timepieces are selling, it would seem to be more than a coincidence that April was the first month that the Apple Watch could be pre-ordered. For the first five months of 2015, Swiss watch exports were off .3%. Swiss watch shipments to the U.S. declined by 14% from April to May and by a whopping 34% in Hong Kong.

According to one analyst, the strong U.S. Dollar and the weak Euro mean that U.S. and Asian buyers are turning to European timepieces since the dollar has more bang for the, uh, buck. The strong U.S. currency could also partially explain the decline in Swiss watch exports to the U.S. Patrik Schwendimann, an analyst at Swiss bank Zuercher Kantonalbank, expects shipments of lower priced Swiss timepieces to the U.S. to grow in the low-single digits this year. Last year, that sector had a 14% improvement in sales. "Watch exports to the U.S. in the lower price segments could also have had some negative impact from the launch of the Apple Watch," said the analyst.

source: Bloomberg

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38 Comments

1. Well-Manicured-Man

Posts: 707; Member since: Jun 16, 2015

I am not really convinced of smartwatches as such. I think that Apple rushed into the market. Smartwatches might be great in 10 years or so. Of course, this is just my humble opinion.

5. Derekjeter

Posts: 1546; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

+1 I had the Galaxy Gear S along with the S6 edge but i still had to use my phone for 90% of the functions. I took back the watch and the phone (for different reasons) then i tried the Moto 360 with my Nexus 6 and i was able to use that more than the Gear S for notifications. Still had to use the phone most of the time so i took that back. Last week i bought the Apple watch for my iphone 6 plus and it was worst than the Moto i took it back after 3 days. I agree with you, the smart watch will be what we want in 10 years.

27. engineer-1701d unregistered

i dont get what your trying to say here jeter, i have the gear live and it notifies me when around loyalty places and texts and calls and i respond to texts super fast faster then it would take to get the phone out of my pocket, the screen has the weather and next 2 days as well as the time date,steps and a pic of when i was in brazil. what else should it do, i control my music from it set reminders and notes, basic q's if i have any,health stats for google fit and samsung fit. When at the movies as i walk into the movie i slide left and put vib on, thats all it should do

35. sgodsell

Posts: 7514; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Looking at these charts, it looks like it started back in 2012. So why would it be the Apple watch that started the slide. To tell you the truth. The real decline started when the smartphones came out. Afterwards people would use the phone as a clock. What smart watches are doing now, is making things even more convenient, and in some cases faster then using a smartphone. I pay for coffees at Starbucks using my Moto 360. I check, the weather, steps, heart rate, when exercising, quick search, send SMS, email messages, listen to music, open my garage, and front door. All this with my watch. There is a lot of other things they can do as well that are more of a novelty, like remote camera shutter, games in general. The fact of the matter is smart watches today can be a benefit to most users, if they gave them a try.

6. nctx77

Posts: 2540; Member since: Sep 03, 2013

Apple may have been one of the first major companies to be rumored to release a watch, but we're one of the last to do so. Why is Apple to early? Other than battery life, what are you expecting your watch to do in 10 years that is can't do now. Any complaints about the Apple watch(basically slow apps) will be fixed via software update this fall which is less than 6 months after release. Until you get some sales numbers about how it's selling, I think you need to be quite about it launching to early. If you need a comparison, the iPhone sold 600,000 in its launch weekend and took the rest of the year to hit a million. The Apple watch sold a million in the U.S. alone on launch weekend. I'm not even going to talk bout the iPad and iPod. The Apple Watch had the best product launch in Apple's history, but these tech sites just don't want to tell you that. Instead of them comparing the watch to other product launches, they want to compare it to a very mature iPhone 6. I don't think any tech product in history has sold 10 million units is a weekend when it was a brand new product/category. Oh, if you want to talk about the health sensors, they actually have some built into the current watch but they are not turned on. If anything, I can see them in watch 2. That won't take a decade buddy.

15. AlikMalix unregistered

Real good post nctx77. +100

16. Well-Manicured-Man

Posts: 707; Member since: Jun 16, 2015

A few comments to your answer: - Battery life is one the most important aspects of a watch, especially if companies are going to add additional features for health tracking and payment - Other supplemental technologies need get developed first or need to get developed further such as Voice Command (Siri, in Apple's regard), power saving technologies that allow for permanent running background applications like maps, mails, reminders, calendars so that the user can instantly access them or get instantly notified That all will take its time. As I've said. Smartwatches have a future but it will take many years to make them actually useful in your daily life.

22. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Agreed, everyone jumped the gun on the smartwatch scene. They had no need to make a product that literally was and still is incomplete in terms of its primary function. The battery tech isn't there yet and neither is the functionality. Unfortunately, the things Apple accuses others of doing it has done itself. They finished an unreleased product and this will come back to bite them very hard. Up until now the image Apple held was that they could release any product and it would be a product the people wanted and needed and that it would be finished and quality. This is one of the first that goes completely against it as shown by the fact that most reviews, even by hardcore Apple fansites like the verge and such were lukewarm at best. Sales are meh for something that was a "game-changer" from Apple at its sales peak. It will be a successful, but will only add further to the negatives for Apple along with recent problems like bendgate.

28. engineer-1701d unregistered

except more than 50% of the people sent or took it back and did not keep it, ask darkjedi he did not like his so he took it back, sales numbers from apple dont mean anything since they never tell you the real numbers or can prove any of the things they say,so saying 600 mil went out is like the other article saying 600 mil samsung phones are at risk because of the swift keyboard, its all speculation

34. Canaan

Posts: 351; Member since: May 25, 2014

As someone else mentioned a far more intelligent assistant would be a huge plus (watch the film "Her" to get an idea).

26. engineer-1701d unregistered

does anyone really think that the unavailable iwatch made the swiss watch market decline, hell no and if you thought or think that you must be riding the short bus to school, if a businessman who has a blackberry had a swiss watch he would not get the iwatch just like all the android and wp and others in the world this is just a stupid ploy to try to ramp up demand and pr the hell out of the iwatch 2. people that buy swiss high end watches would never ever ever buy a iwatch over a swiss piece. ( it would be like a person driving a 2015 bentley and having a rolls royce at home stopping to pick up a toyota prius.)

2. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

FUD. Was the Apple Watch available in Q4-2012/Q1-2013 when the graph shows Swiss watch exports starting to drop sharply? Oh, and let's not overlook the glaring fluctuation thought the whole friggin' graph: - 2013, initial drop back into the negatives followed by continued fluctuating swings. This is not to say that the Apple Watch won't have an effect; Apple is after all a major league company... but this is just a shill article from a brand-specific enthusiast.

3. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

Prior to 2010, steep negatives in shipments spiking in Q2 2009. 2010-2013, initial soaring increases with spiking but ans overall visibly downward trend. (These has been included in the initial post but somehow were cut off when submitted.)

4. alexvoda

Posts: 39; Member since: Jan 11, 2013

I am more interested about what happened in 2010 to reverse the trend like that.

7. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

I was wondering the same...

32. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

The trend reversed because the economic collapse of 2008 had run most of its course of immediate damage and people began settling down again.

8. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Apple is doing what they do. Appealing to the mainstream consumer.

9. gaming64 unregistered

That's the point of every consumer-based company, not only Apple.

12. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

No it's not, lambo, Ferrari, don't for instance. Do some research before running off at the mouth. Several companies cater only to the wealth/super wealthy.

13. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

What? Ferrari is a consumer based company. They so happen to tailor to rich consumers. But they are consumer's nevertheless. Dude, what is a consumer. If no consumers bought Ferraris, they go out of business as would any other car company. Dude you embarrassing me and yourself. A person who spends money to buy something is a consumer. It's not about how much you got that makes you a consumer. Wow I am so ashamed.

18. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Neither of those companies cater to the mainstream consumer. Read post 8, before running off at the mouth.

29. gaming64 unregistered

You already lost my credibility by the time you first commented. Ferrari is popular. Why? Because of mainstream costumers who can afford it. You're saying only Ferraris appeal to rich and wealthy spoiled brats? You already lost my interest dark.

31. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I don't really care, if that's the case though, then just not reply to my posts anymore.

30. hmmm...

Posts: 81; Member since: Jun 05, 2013

Though i agree with your comment, Ferrari's parent company is Fiat Chrysler. Lambo, Bugati, Bentley etc parent compnay is Volkswagen. Infact companies (incl Louis Vuitton) that try to cater to super rich are bought or is being controlled by other companies to extend their range of customers. It's like Nokia and their Vertu and feature phones. So in a way the parent company is catering to mainstream customers but keep the branding (like BMW with Rolls Royce branding) to try to attract richer customers. So in a way you are right. In fact I can't think of any company that caters to the super rich surviving on it's own.

33. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Glad you see what I meant.

37. g2a5b0e unregistered

What you said was very clear & obvious, Darkk. MAINSTREAM consumers. People who buy Ferraris & Lamborghinis do not fall into the category of MAINSTREAM. They are outliers. People who make a lot more money than your average Joe. These idiots (yes, I'm naming people, shrekieXP & laming64) need to work on their reading comprehension.

38. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Lmao "shrekieXP"!!! Loved it lol. Plus 1

10. maherk

Posts: 6999; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

You have to be some kinda stupid to believe that a smartwatch(no matter which one it is) will affect the sales of Swiss Watches. The decline has to be about currency and economical changes.

19. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

... Exactly lmao. Based off PA's logic, Rolex should consider going out of business pretty soon.

11. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Undoubtedly, Swatch and other Swiss watchmakers in the same market segment, were bound to suffer, along with many other mall brands from outside of Switzerland. As for fine watches, the volumes are probably too low to appear in that chart.

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