Why Does Swatch Think It Can Take On Google And Apple?

by MR Magazine Staff

On Sept. 9, 2014, Apple unveiled its smartwatch. The global span of the event and imprimatur of fashion world luminaries created heightened expectations. But Apple’s diffident refusal to release unit and revenue numbers after the device started shipping in April 2015 provoked critics to label the Apple Watch a disappointment, even as competing smartwatches weren’t doing so well.
In Sept. 2016, the Watch Series 2 was announced, concurrent with improvements and a price reduction for the earlier model (now starting at $269). Perhaps more important, the fashion and luxury angles were replaced by an accent on health and fitness, highlighted by the Apple Watch Nike+. Apple still refuses to release Watch numbers, but the device is estimated to have had a successful Holidays quarter. The Canalys research firm (all caveats hereby stipulated) pegs unit sales at six million for the quarter with a revenue of $2.6 billion—that’s 80% of the total smartwatch market. Apple CEO Tim Cook, known for the reliability of his public statements, calls sales growth “off the charts.” If the numbers are accurate, Apple has become the second largest watchmaker by revenue, right behind Rolex. In the meantime, the Swiss watch industry continues its decline (from the very precise Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. A look at the 2016 annual report for the Swatch Group shows an even more accentuated revenue decline; they lost 10.6% last year. Read more at Quartz.