Apple Watch holiday sales volume beat entire Swiss watch industry for first time

Posted:
in Apple Watch
More Apple Watches shipped in the fourth quarter of 2017 than the entire Swiss watch industry, a report claims, showing the Apple-produced wearable device is still growing in popularity, though analysis also indicates the Apple Watch still has some way to go before it can outpace Swiss watches on an annual basis.




A chart produced by Statista examines figures taken from market research firm Canalys concerning the Apple Watch's shipment estimates, comparing them with published shipment counts from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, which includes all Swiss-produced watch exports rather than for an individual watch producer.

The chart reveals the Apple Watch shipped an estimated 8 million units during the fourth quarter of 2017, more than the 6.8 million Swiss watch shipments over the same period. It is also noted that the Apple Watch saw a year-on-year increase of 2 million shipments, representing growth of 33 percent, while Swiss shipments slightly contracted from 7 million in Q4 2016.

Across the entire year, Swiss watches continue to outsell the Apple Watch by a wide margin. Over the year, 24.2 million Swiss watches shipped, while 18.4 million Apple Watches are thought to have shipped during the same time.

Chart by Statista
Chart by Statista


As well as showing growth, the graph also shows how the two different products are affected differently by seasonality, despite being in the same market. In both 2016 and 2017, most of the Apple Watch shipments took place in the fourth quarter, with 43 percent of annual shipments for 2017 happening during the period.

By comparison, Swiss watch shipments are only slightly affected by seasonal shopping habits, with a difference of only 1.3 million between the highest and lowest points on the chart across the two years.

While the chart does show Apple as catching up with -- and in one quarter, beating -- the Swiss watch industry as a whole in terms of shipments, the numbers do not tell the whole story. Estimates from a market research firm are educated guesses that may still be incorrect, and shipments are also not an indicator of how many units have actually been sold to consumers.

The chart also does not indicate how Apple Watch compares to the Swiss watch industry on a financial basis. Considering that the top price for an Apple Watch from Apple directly is $1,399 and that Swiss watches can sell for far higher sums, such a chart will likely point to Swiss watches continuing to earn more revenue than Apple's timepiece for the moment.

After its launch, Swiss watch producers have been concerned about how it and other types of smart watches could eat into their revenues, with reports in late 2015 reporting the largest decline for the industry in six years. Industry observers did note the Apple Watch as a significant factor in the $2 billion drop, prompting companies such as TAG Heuer to try and enter the market with their own high-priced smartwatches, to limited success.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    zonezone Posts: 53member
    Interesting as all the negative people who said this wouldn't work. Just like the Apple Home Pod speaker right now. When will people learn that its Apple slow march to perfection that makes their products so good? Never enough credit for their accomplishments...
    racerhomie3brucemcalbegarcmike1lkrupplostkiwiradarthekatargonautlolliverchia
  • Reply 2 of 43
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,847member
    1) I wondered if and when AI was going to get to this story. This is massive… especially since Apple Watch is an abject failure. /s

    2) As we know from Android- and Windows-based vendors, unit sales means squat without other factors. I'm curious how the Swiss watch makers are doing. I assume their high-end and low-end products aren't suffering, but that their mid-tier products—where I think they make the bulk of their revenue and profits—would be heavily affected by the Apple Watch

    3)  As I've said for nearly 3 years now, the Apple Watch is "unnecessary, yet indispensable" and that still holds true today, if not more so, since it now allows me to keep my iPhone off my person more often as I now have the cellular Watch, and I wear it to bed to monitor and record my sleep patterns, only charging during my bis in die ablutions.
    edited February 13 racerhomie3albegarcargonautjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 43
    How do they know this when nobody is providing sales figures? 
    LukeCageargonaut
  • Reply 4 of 43
    How do they know this when nobody is providing sales figures? 
    Good question. 

    If true, this will be a result of cellular? Or simply the chip is good enough now?

    If it’s cellular that people want, that’s really bad news for Switzerland. It will only get worse for them from now on. 
    albegarcradarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 43
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,091administrator
    Soli said:
    1) I wondered if and when AI was going to get to this story. This is massive… especially since Apple Watch is an abject failure. /s
    We had some questions. When we do, we generally wait until we get answers to them.
    edited February 13 Solialbegarclolliver
  • Reply 6 of 43
    matrix077 said:
    How do they know this when nobody is providing sales figures? 
    Good question. 

    If true, this will be a result of cellular? Or simply the chip is good enough now?

    If it’s cellular that people want, that’s really bad news for Switzerland. It will only get worse for them from now on. 
    Do we have evidence that smart watches are taking share from high end mechanical watches? Seems to me they’re taking share from people who don’t wear watches. And where is this sales data coming from? Apple has never provided revenue or sales figures for Apple Watch. Does the “Swiss Watch Industry” provide this data? If not then it’s just a bunch of estimating and guessing which is pretty meaningless.
    albegarcargonautloopychew
  • Reply 7 of 43
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,417member
    zone said:
    Interesting as all the negative people who said this wouldn't work. Just like the Apple Home Pod speaker right now. When will people learn that its Apple slow march to perfection that makes their products so good? Never enough credit for their accomplishments...
    Indeed, the Apple Watch must have been the most derided Apple product (for probably 2 years) in decades - unquestionably called a failure / flop by the tech-blog-o-sphere echo chamber.  Yet here in its 3rd year of availability it is showing massive growth (50% yoy growth for many quarters), hitting some strong absolute numbers (estimated of course!), and with increasing engagement and usefulness.  Some estimates put AW unit sales at more than Amazon Echo products over the last 3 years, at many times the ASP.

    While not as universally panned, AirPods had its fair share of negative stories in the first few months (truly wireless done by another company first, expensive for wireless buds, only one size, too small - I could lose them, only works with all features in the Apple ecosystem, etc)

    HomePod is the current child.  While I don't expect that product to have the same sales trajectory as AW and AirPods, I am sure in 3 years the units (estimated:) sold will be much higher than the negative Nancies proclaimed would be the case.
    albegarcradarthekatargonautlolliverbadmonkwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 43
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,417member
    How do they know this when nobody is providing sales figures? 
    Apple has provided a number of clues (the Other category + statements) which some analysts use (along with their broader revenue models) to estimate what the sales are.  They have been tracking them since launch in this manner.  Check out www.aboveavalon.com for one.

    Not 100% accurate by any means, but provides the broader story.  So was Q1 2018 (Apple FY) AW shipments 8M, 7.5, 8.5, or even 9?  That is difficult to say.  Was it 5M or 8M - the models are much more accurate than that.

    Now, the Canalys info in this story seems off - they say 8M units, but that shipments were up 33%, which does not align with Apple's statement of "more than 50% growth".
    albegarcargonaut
  • Reply 9 of 43
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,847member
    matrix077 said:
    How do they know this when nobody is providing sales figures? 
    Good question. 

    If true, this will be a result of cellular? Or simply the chip is good enough now?

    If it’s cellular that people want, that’s really bad news for Switzerland. It will only get worse for them from now on. 
    Do we have evidence that smart watches are taking share from high end mechanical watches? Seems to me they’re taking share from people who don’t wear watches. And where is this sales data coming from? Apple has never provided revenue or sales figures for Apple Watch. Does the “Swiss Watch Industry” provide this data? If not then it’s just a bunch of estimating and guessing which is pretty meaningless.
    They haven’t unit or revenue sales, but Cook has made several mentions to the Watch’s market position in comparison to traditional watch conglomerates.
  • Reply 10 of 43
    Soli said:
    1) I wondered if and when AI was going to get to this story. This is massive… especially since Apple Watch is an abject failure. /s

    2) As we know from Android- and Windows-based vendors, unit sales means squat without other factors. I'm curious how the Swiss watch makers are doing. I assume their high-end and low-end products aren't suffering, but that their mid-tier products—where I think they make the bulk of their revenue and profits—would be heavily affected by the Apple Watch

    3)  As I've said for nearly 3 years now, the Apple Watch is "unnecessary, yet indispensable" and that still holds true today, if not more so, since it now allow me to keep my iPhone off my person more often as I now have the cellular Watch, and I wear it to bed to monitor and record my sleep patterns, only charging during my bis in die ablutions.
    Re #2.  This observation (mid-tier Swiss is in the cross-hairs) is entirely right.  For more on this, see this regarding Apple's pricing strategy.

    Also:
    - how crazy is it that this report compares the output of a new watch company to an entire industry/group of companies?  
    - what would the figures look like when matched in price range ($250-$1100) watches?
    - would we see some drop off in swiss sales or is this entirely competition with non-consumption?
    - finally - if mid-range Swiss watches are the gateway to higher end, this is a disaster for the swiss makers.
    albegarcSolilostkiwiargonautlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 43
    BluntBlunt Posts: 201member
    Told you so: flawed to the core. Nobody wants it. Will the techies/analists ever learn?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 43
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,497member
    Yeah...AppleWatch is a failure! I don't even know why Tim thought this was a good idea. He obviously doesn't have a clue as to what he's doing and should be replaced. /s
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 43
    Soli said:
    matrix077 said:
    How do they know this when nobody is providing sales figures? 
    Good question. 

    If true, this will be a result of cellular? Or simply the chip is good enough now?

    If it’s cellular that people want, that’s really bad news for Switzerland. It will only get worse for them from now on. 
    Do we have evidence that smart watches are taking share from high end mechanical watches? Seems to me they’re taking share from people who don’t wear watches. And where is this sales data coming from? Apple has never provided revenue or sales figures for Apple Watch. Does the “Swiss Watch Industry” provide this data? If not then it’s just a bunch of estimating and guessing which is pretty meaningless.
    They haven’t unit or revenue sales, but Cook has made several mentions to the Watch’s market position in comparison to traditional watch conglomerates.
    And what is he basing that on? I don’t follow the watch industry. Do Rolex, Tag, Omega etc. provide sales figures?
  • Reply 14 of 43
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,163member
    I see that some simply can’t accept the success of the Watch.
    albegarcwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 43
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,847member
    Soli said:
    1) I wondered if and when AI was going to get to this story. This is massive… especially since Apple Watch is an abject failure. /s

    2) As we know from Android- and Windows-based vendors, unit sales means squat without other factors. I'm curious how the Swiss watch makers are doing. I assume their high-end and low-end products aren't suffering, but that their mid-tier products—where I think they make the bulk of their revenue and profits—would be heavily affected by the Apple Watch

    3)  As I've said for nearly 3 years now, the Apple Watch is "unnecessary, yet indispensable" and that still holds true today, if not more so, since it now allow me to keep my iPhone off my person more often as I now have the cellular Watch, and I wear it to bed to monitor and record my sleep patterns, only charging during my bis in die ablutions.
    Re #2.  This observation (mid-tier Swiss is in the cross-hairs) is entirely right.  For more on this, see this regarding Apple's pricing strategy.
    Thanks for the link.

    - finally - if mid-range Swiss watches are the gateway to higher end, this is a disaster for the swiss makers.
    With high collectability, status symbol, and huge price variance for the high-end (thousands to millions of dollars), I have to assume that they’re fairly insulated from smartwatches as a whole.

    One could look at Vertu as an example of how they will ultimately fall to the (modern) smartwatch, but I would say that’s not a good comparison since Vertu is first-and-foremost a cellphone (i.e.: CE).
    edited February 13
  • Reply 16 of 43
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,847member
    Soli said:
    matrix077 said:
    How do they know this when nobody is providing sales figures? 
    Good question. 

    If true, this will be a result of cellular? Or simply the chip is good enough now?

    If it’s cellular that people want, that’s really bad news for Switzerland. It will only get worse for them from now on. 
    Do we have evidence that smart watches are taking share from high end mechanical watches? Seems to me they’re taking share from people who don’t wear watches. And where is this sales data coming from? Apple has never provided revenue or sales figures for Apple Watch. Does the “Swiss Watch Industry” provide this data? If not then it’s just a bunch of estimating and guessing which is pretty meaningless.
    They haven’t unit or revenue sales, but Cook has made several mentions to the Watch’s market position in comparison to traditional watch conglomerates.
    And what is he basing that on? I don’t follow the watch industry. Do Rolex, Tag, Omega etc. provide sales figures?
    I don’t recall, but I think it was based on revenue. How Apple came to those results, I havent a clue, but I assume Cook believed those results were defendable.

    edit: There's a source in the lower-left corner, but you'll have to find the video to see if you can get a better image. I tried enhancing in but since I'm not part of the CSI team it didn't make things more clear. :smiley: 



    edited February 13 albegarcargonautlolliver
  • Reply 17 of 43
    It’s not useful to compare Apple Watch with $100,000 custom made watches, nor is it useful to compare them to Seiko cheapies. It’s a different category of device which is able to occupy the limited arm space available. Should Apple Watches also be compared with gold bracelets? I think not.
    albegarcargonaut
  • Reply 18 of 43
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,497member
    lkrupp said:
    I see that some simply can’t accept the success of the Watch.
    Well god forbid Tim Cook do something great as CEO of Apple. I mean Apple is supposed to be a massive failure now that Steve isn't there anymore. Apple can't survive without Steve... 
    radarthekatchiawatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 43
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,847member
    It’s not useful to compare Apple Watch with $100,000 custom made watches, nor is it useful to compare them to Seiko cheapies. It’s a different category of device which is able to occupy the limited arm space available. Should Apple Watches also be compared with gold bracelets? I think not.
    It's like saying that the iPad shouldn't ever be compared to a WinPC or Mac, but if there's a direct correlation that people are replacing their desktops and notebooks (or merely not updating them) because they've moved to using iPads, then that becomes a very relevant discussion. The same goes for the modern smaretphones, spurred by the iPhone, causing the vast majority of people to give up dumb phones.
    albegarclolliverchia
  • Reply 20 of 43
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,547member
    Too bad it's a flop.  Imagine if Apple made a successful product like Google glass or Sammy Gear. 
    albegarcargonautlolliverchiawatto_cobra
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