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Apple Watch outsold the entire Swiss watch industry last year

The Apple Watch outsold the entire Swiss watch industry last year, according to new analysis.

An estimated 31 million units of the tech giant’s smart watch were shipped worldwide in 2019 – 10 million more than the combined sales of classic brands.

Strategy Analytics, which compiled the figures, said luxury labels such as TAG Heuer and Swatch are losing the war against smart watches.

Swiss watch
Image: Analogue luxury watches are being spurned by consumers

While Apple Watch sales were up 36% over 2019, the Swiss watch industry suffered a 13% slump.

Apple doesn’t specify how much its smartwatch sales make up of its wearables, home and accessories category, but in total these products brought in sales of $24.5bn (£19bn) in 2019 – a 41% rise on the year before.

iPhones generated sales of $142.4bn (£110bn) over the same period – a 14% drop compared with 2018.

Steven Waltzer, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, said: “A blend of attractive design, user-friendly tech and sticky apps makes the Apple Watch wildly popular in North America, Western Europe and Asia.”

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Mr Waltzer said that Swiss watch firms including Swatch and Tissot are falling behind because Apple “is delivering a better product through deeper retail channels”.

The research firm’s executive director Neil Mawston added: “Analogue wristwatches remain popular among older consumers, but younger buyers are tipping toward smart watches and computerised wristwear.

“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.”

An estimated 31 million units of the tech giant's smart watch were shipped worldwide in 2019
Image: An estimated 31 million units of the tech giant’s smart watch were shipped worldwide in 2019

The Apple Watch has been the dominant smart watch on the market since it was released in 2017, but had previously only shipped more units than the entire Swiss watch industry in a single quarter – not over the course of an entire year.

The health and fitness apps available for the Apple Watch have prompted the company to seek regulatory approval from authorities in the UK to use them to take electrocardiogram tests.

The ECG app, which carries out a simple version of a test until now confined to hospitals, was cleared last year by regulators for use across the UK and Europe.

Last year the watch also saved the life of two hikers by calling 911 when they slid down a cliff and landed on a secluded ledge.

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