The shipment of smartwatches outstripped those of the Swiss watches for the first time ever during the final three months of 2015, according to new figures released this week, which also showed that Apple Watch is dominating the market.
According to the figures from Strategy Analytics, global smartwatch shipments reached 8.1 million units in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared with 7.9 million Swiss watch shipments in the same period, marking a significant milestone in the evolution of the smartwatch.
Strategy Analytics defines a Swiss watch as “a wristwatch produced and shipped from Switzerland” while it defines a smartwatch as “a computerized wristwatch with a high-level or expandable operating system produced and shipped from any country worldwide.”
However, in the smartwatch industry, Apple is dominating with 63 percent share of shipments, which would equate to 5.1 million Apple Watches sold during the period. Apple has never revealed sales figures for its smartwatch, which went on sale just under a year ago.
While the market share for the Apple Watch is impressive, it has slipped from the 75 percent it held in the second quarter of 2015 just after it launched, according to Strategy Analytics.
“We estimate global smartwatch shipments reached 8.1 million units in Q4 2015, rising a healthy 316 percent from 1.9 million in Q4 2014,” Cliff Raskind, director at Strategy Analytics, said. “Smartwatches are growing rapidly in North America, Western Europe and Asia.”
With Apple dominating, the rest of the market is led by Samsung, which has a wide range of smartwatches on the market, with a 16 percent market share. This means that for every 10 smartwatches shipped globally, eight of them are from Samsung or Apple.
While smartwatches have seen growth of over 300 percent in the last 12 months, the Swiss watch industry has seen shipments fall by 5 percent, from 8.3 million units in the final three months of 2014.
“The Swiss watch industry has been very slow to react to the development of smartwatches,” Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, said. “The Swiss watch industry has been sticking its head in the sand and hoping smartwatches will go away. Swiss brands, like Tag Heuer, accounted for a tiny 1 percent of all smartwatches shipped globally during Q4 2015, and they are long way behind Apple, Samsung and other leaders in the high-growth smartwatch category.”
It is unclear just how many people have decided to buy a smartwatch instead of a Swiss watch, with some of the decline likely due to other factors. However, it is clear that the smartwatch market is growing fast and traditional watchmakers will need to adjust if they don’t want to fall further behind.