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Apple Watch drives decline in Swiss watch exports

Apple Watch drives decline in Swiss watch exports

That iThingy You're Wearing
November 19, 2015

Months after the Apple Watch launched around the world, exports of Swiss watches have reached a six year low and stand at just $2 billion, according to a recent report.

The news, from Bloomberg, explains that exports to Hong Kong dropped the most severely of all, by some 39 percent. More generally, however, worldwide exports for Swiss watches suffered a decline of 12 percent (or, adjusted for fewer working days, 7.6 percent).

Yet for the smart watch industry, the situation couldn’t be more different; here, the Apple Watch has helped the industry rocket, and it seems low-end luxury watch brands have suffered most greatly since Cupertino’s device hit the market. Fossil Group Inc., for instance, "saw its stock slump 37 percent Nov. 13 after saying fourth quarter sales may decline as much as 16 percent amid competition with wearable technology," Bloomberg noted, adding:

The 11 percent surge in the Swiss franc from a year ago has eroded the industry’s profit margins. The industry has begun to cut jobs to adjust for a drop in demand. Richemont said on Nov. 16 that it’s cutting 85 positions at watch-dial maker Stern Cadrans, shifting some employees to other sites.

In August, Apple Watch sales were predicted as being somewhere in the region of 3.6 million units for Q2 2015. And although Cupertino doesn’t yet dominate the wearable market (so far, it stands in second-place behind Fitbit, which is continuing to see year-over-year growth), its Apple Watch is nevertheless placing a significant dent in Swiss watch sales.

The Apple Watch comes in three varieties, and between them Cupertino has aimed to capture as much of the watch market as possible. As we move towards 2016 (and the release of a second-generation model), it’ll be interesting to see how Swiss watch exports fare, or suffer.