Smartwatches call time on the Swiss industry

www.ft.com

Software is eating the world. The next business to fall: watches.

According to research firm Strategy Analytics, the Apple Watch, launched less than five years ago, now outsells the entire Swiss industry, which has been manufacturing wristwatches for 152 years. Last year, Apple increased sales by 36 per cent to almost 31m watches while the Swiss industry shipped about 21m in total, a 13 per cent decline. The one solace for Swiss watchmakers is that they still generate more revenue: $21bn to Apple’s $11bn. But on current trends Apple will overtake the Swiss on that measure, too, by 2023.

Quite an amazing achievement when you consider Apple launched the Apple Watch to considerable criticism, largely panned by an over-confident industry certain it could not be disrupted by technology.

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