Technology Apple Watch beat the Swiss watch industry in sales in 2019
Apple Watch shopper's guide: What you need to know before buying
Series 4 has disappeared from Apple's website but is still widely available at other resellers. The newest edition has an always-on watch face.Starting at $199 for the older Series 3 model (the lowest price ever for an Apple Watch), the device is a relative bargain in an Apple universe that sees top-line products like the iPhone, iPad Pro and the 16-inch MacBook Pro selling for huge price tags, like starting at $649, $799 and $2,800.
outsold the entire in 2019.
The Apple Watch sold 31 million units worldwide, while all Swiss watch brands combined sold 21 million units, according to research from consulting firm Strategy Analytics.
Analysts are divided on whether this spells trouble for the Swiss watch industry, with some saying the end is near. Others point out that the mechanical watches certified in Switzerland are still bringing in more revenue than the Apple Watch.
Apple Sued by New York Doctor Over Watch’s Heart Technology
A New York University cardiologist claims Apple Inc.’s Watch uses his patented heartbeat-monitoring invention and he wants compensation. © ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2018, file photo, Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer, speaks about the Apple Watch Series 4 at the Steve Jobs Theater during an event to announce new Apple products in Cupertino, Calif. The latest software update to the newest Apple Watch, the Series 4, will now let people take EKGs of their heart and notify them when they have an irregular heartbeat. Dr.
"The Apple Watch has emerged as a status symbol of its own, and offers a competitive alternative to mid-range Swiss watches," Steven Waltzer, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, told CNN Business. "Apple's massive customer base means that converting just a small percentage of iPhone users to Apple Watch users yields volume in the millions."
The Apple Watch, which can track fitness levels and link to apps for faster check-ins at the movie theater or the gym, appeals to younger generations, while analog watches are popular among an older demographic, Strategy Analytics pointed out in a report.
"People have embraced the Apple Watch as a solution that brings tech and fashion together," said Carolina Milanesi, a tech analyst at research firm Creative Strategies.
AirPods sales nearly hit 60 million in 2019 as Apple continues to dominate the wireless earbuds market
While Apple's AirPods were initially mocked due to its somewhat unusual and somewhat funky design, the company's wireless earbuds have since become wildly popular. Indeed, optimism surrounding Apple's wireless division in general -- a division which includes AirPods, Beats, and the Apple Watch -- is a big reason why Apple shares have skyrocketed more than 50% over the last six months alone. At this point, there's no doubt that AirPods haveAt this point, there’s no doubt that AirPods have turned into a legit money-maker for Apple. To this end, some analysts anticipate that AirPods will soon generate more money for Apple than the iPod did at its peak. That’s quite impressive for an accessory.
Milanesi noted that Apple'spositioned its watches differently from the Swiss timepieces that are marketed as jewelry and fashion accessories.
"Yet these two value propositions are much stickier than fashion and glamour, which is how we get to today," she said. "Nobody else in the wearable market has been able to find the right formula and get anywhere near Apple."
The company also benefits from its greater ecosystem of iPhone, iPad and other Apple-branded products. While Swiss companies also sell smartwatches, they operate in the Android ecosystem.
"Apple has an existing consumer electronics-based relationship with the vast majority of its Apple Watch customers," said Rishi Kaul, media and consumer tech analyst at Omdia, a tech research service. Kaul pointed out that Swiss watchmakers use Google's Android-based WearOS software, which might mostly appeal to people who already use Android phones.
The Apple Watch 3 is back in stock and on sale for $199 at Walmart
The best-selling Apple Watch Series 3 is back in stock at Walmart and on sale for just $199. The Apple Watch 3 is packed with health and fitness-focused features while also keeping you connected. The smartwatch tracks activity, workouts, and calories burned and offers 24/7 heart rate monitoring. The swim-proof smartwatch will even notify you when an unusually high or low heart rate is detected and features a breathing app to help with everyday stress. The Series 3 watch provides an 18-hour battery life and includes basic smartwatch features such as the ability to make calls, send messages, and receive notifications.
Still, analysts said that this doesn't spell the end of the Swiss watch as a luxury status symbol, even if it is falling behind in the smartwatch competition.
"I would argue it is not really comparing Apples to apples," said Vincent Thielke, a research analyst at market research firm Canalys. "Unit shipments do not paint the entire picture."
Thielke pointed out that Swiss watches are about twice ason average ($1,000 versus $500), and in terms of absolute US dollars generated, the Swiss watch industry outperformed Apple Watch last year.
Looking at unit sales alone doesn't tell the full picture. Apple Watches might need to be replaced more frequently than Swiss watches to upgrade their technology and boost battery life, all of which could bump up Apple's unit sales number, said Thielke. He added that the Apple Watch could also be attracting newer audiences who might never have purchased a Swiss watch.
"Apple Watches cater to a much broader consumer base, including young customers and gadget lovers," said Thielke. "For these groups, it may be more important to adopt a smartwatch for technological or health reasons rather than because of an appreciation for 'timeless timepieces.'"
The Swiss watch's position as a status symbol is safe, given its luxury pricing and different watch faces and designs to choose from, said Kaul, the Omdia analyst. "The only way to increase the uniqueness or status of the Apple Watch is to invest in a designer band."
Ramon Llamas, research director at market research firm IDC, said that Swiss watches personified "luxury, position and affluence."
"Does this spell the end of Swiss watches? I doubt it. There will still be interest and demand, and in fact a number of younger users still aspire to own one some day," he said, "Meanwhile, today's smartwatches — and yes, even the Apple Watch — will look quaint in just a matter of years."
Watches: Audemars Piguet will reach its target with China
The Swiss watch manufacturer Audemars Piguet is on the way to reaching one billion Swiss francs (849 million euros) in turnover this year worldwide, a said its CEO during an interview with Reuters in Beijing.
In a context of recovery in demand for luxury goods in China, Francois-Henry Bennahmias clarified that the group's sales had increased by more than 9% in the first quarter. Last year, they increased by 12% thanks to a reorientation towards stores with single brand and an increasing average price.
"We are confident in our ability to make a year as good as in 2017," he said.
The Swiss group launched its first ephemeral online store on Monday with Chinese internet trade specialist JD.Com, building on emerging demand from the Chinese middle class, which is increasingly shopping online.
Swiss watch exports to China increased by 18.8% in 2017, according to the federation of the watch industry. The growth since the beginning of the year is even faster.
JD.com, as well as its competitor Alibaba, is developing its range of luxury products. Last year, JD.com launched the Toplife platform on which the group has attracted big brands like Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen.
After being approached by JD.com, the CEO of Audemars Piguet does not rule out the possibility of working with Alibaba.
"I'm waiting for Jack Ma to give me a call," he said in reference to the founder of the Chinese online retail giant.
Luxury sales in China have stalled following a campaign by Beijing against the apparent signs of wealth of senior officials, but rebounded last year with growing demand from the Chinese middle class, partly driven by younger customers and online sales.
They thus increased by around 20% in 2017, to 142 billion yuan (18 billion euros), their highest rate of growth since 2011 when the market had started to slow down.
Francois-Henry Bennahmias added that his company, which produces 40,000 watches per year, could consider exporting its Chinese model in e-commerce elsewhere if it proves successful, and could modestly increase its production .
"We want to remain very exclusive and 40,000 is a good number. Perhaps in the next three or four years we will increase it to 44,000 or 45,000," he said.
(Pei Li and Adam Jourdan, Juliette Rouillon for the French service, edited by Bertrand Boucey)
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