KEY POINTS

  • Research has found that the Apple Watch has outsold the entire Swiss watch industry in 2019
  • The Apple Watch's design, technologies and apps make it appealing to consumers
  • Older consumers still prefer traditional analog wristwatches, while younger crowds want smartwatches

The Apple Watch has overtaken Swiss watch makers in terms of the number of units sold last year, researchers found.

Apple's health-focused wearable, the Apple Watch, might be pricey but that hasn't stopped the company from shipping more and more units to an increasing number of users around the world. According to recent research conducted by Strategy Analytics, the Apple Watch has outsold the Swiss watch industry “by a huge margin” in 2019.

Strategy Analytics estimates that Apple shipped 30.7 million Apple Watch units around the world last year. This is a 36 percent increase from the 22.8 million units the Cupertino tech giant shipped in 2018. This includes all models shipped to all corners of the globe.

Steven Waltzer, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, said the Apple Watch is “wildly popular” especially in North America, Western Europe and Asia, largely in part because of its “attractive design, user-friendly tech and sticky apps.”

The research company, on the other hand, estimated that Swiss watch makers such as Swatch, Tissot and others, were only able to ship a cumulative total of 21.1 million units worldwide in 2019. This indicates a 13 percent drop from the 24.2 million units shipped in 2018.

Neil Mawston, Strategy Analytics Executive Director, said older consumers still prefer to buy analog wristwatches. Younger consumers, on the other hand, tend to gravitate towards “smartwatches and computerized wristwear.”

The research paints a sad picture for traditional watchmakers, in that younger crowds are more interested in newer, more technologically-advanced wearables as compared to traditional devices such as analog wristwatches. Waltzer said Apple is succeeding in the wearables market through “deeper retail channels” and by presenting an “appealing” product.

Indeed, Apple is working on selling more Apple Watch units. Recently, the Cupertino tech giant increased the Apple Watch Series 2 and Series 3's trade-in values so that those who want a Series 5 model can get it for up to $100 less than the original price. Apple is also working on adding more features to the already feature-packed wearable.

“Traditional Swiss watch makers, like Swatch and Tissot, are losing the smartwatch wars,” Waltzer said. “The window for Swiss watch brands to make an impact in smartwatches is closing. Time may be running out for Swatch, Tissot, TAG Heuer, and others.”

Apple Watches The Apple Watch will just keep getting better. Photo: Apple