Time to Change for Watchmakers
The Swiss watch industry is dying.
But unlike some other industries, watchmakers can’t blame all of their worries on COVID-19.
While the rest of the world’s economy grew over the last decade, Swiss watch shipments stagnated…
The major drop for Swiss watches happened the same year Apple released the Apple Watch.
Coincidence? Hard to say…
By 2019, just four years after its release, the Apple Watch outsold the entirety of the Swiss watch industry — shipping 30.1 million units, compared with the 20.1 million from the Swiss watch industry.
And even though they aren’t made of corrosion-resistant superalloys, or have automatic movement accurate to stringent standards…
The Apple Watch features the ability to get directions, send and receive texts, monitor your heart rate, set alarms and even track a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Despite these numbers, though, there were some that thought the Swiss watch industry could still survive.
After all, they’ve been around for years. It would take a horrible disaster to shutter their doors…
Then COVID-19 hit. And they took a huge hit.
This year, Swiss watch exports are expected to be down another 25%.
Apple Watches, on the other hand, grew in the first quarter of 2020.
While people avoided retail jewelry stores like the plague, many took up doing more outdoor activities.
And smartwatches filled that hole, providing people with data on their workout analytics and their health.
How to Save a Sinking Ship
It’ll be a tough road ahead for watchmakers.
The question is what can they do about it?
A recent Pew Research poll revealed that one in five Americans now wears a smartwatch. And young people especially are embracing the new technology.
Some Swiss watchmakers have already tried to embrace the change with their own.
Take Montblanc, for example. They released their Summit timepiece back in 2017, but have had underwhelming sales compared with the rest of the smartwatch industry.
They, and many others, are the cases of not giving up their roots while embracing the new smartwatch craze.
The result for Montblanc was a watch that cost twice the price with half the functionality.
My advice to them (if any of them are reading this) is not to skimp on the “smart” part of the smartwatch.
Strike a deal with an already established tech giant to get deep iOS integration. And don’t skimp on the functionality.
Apple has shown that they’ve been able to innovate with nearly every single product they’ve released.
Even the Apple Watch was scoffed at for a while, until the trend kicked off. Now it dominates the industry with 54% of the smartwatch market share.
Apple continues to disrupt industry after industry. Today it’s watches and timepieces.
But tomorrow it could be something even bigger…
To a bright future,