Sign of the times: Apple Watch sales beat entire Swiss watch industry

12 Feb 2018

Apple Watch. Image: Anna Hoychuk/Shutterstock

Apple is now one of the most successful watch manufacturers in the world.

Since its debut in 2015, the Apple Watch has been a major success for the company, with users enjoying its health-tracking capabilities as well as its iOS integration features.

There have been three iterations of the watch, and the latest figures from research firm Canalys show that the appetite for the devices saw a sharp spike in 2017.

A major year-on-year increase

Apple Watch shipments topped 18m last year, an increase of more than 54pc on 2016’s sales. The key here seems to be the Series 3 model, with total shipments of Apple’s latest device hitting just below 9m, making up close to half of total sales for 2017.

The Swiss watch industry is a centuries-old craft, with brands such as Rolex and Omega seen as prized heirloom pieces for their owners and those who covet them alike. Incredibly, Apple Watch sales surpassed all of the major Swiss watch manufacturers’ sales combined in the last quarter of 2017, according to IDC research head Francisco Jeronimo.

Apple does not disclose official figures for sales of Apple Watches; instead, the figures are slotted into the company’s ‘Other’ category, also including Apple TV, Beats and Apple-branded accessories.

Vincent Thielke, research analyst at Canalys, said: “The cellular version of the Apple Watch was in strong demand in the US, Japan and Australia, where all major operators stocked it in time for the holiday season.

Thielke also noted that due to only a handful of operators carrying the Apple Watch in the UK, Germany and France, the growth potential of sales in these territories was stifled.

Apple Watch is top of the wearables pile

Jason Low, senior analyst at Canalys, said that Apple “has won the wearables game” and noted that despite exciting design innovations from other brands, such as circular screens, the company has “pulled far ahead as it continues to focus on its core iPhone user base”.

Low added: “Its recent updates to the Series 3, such as GymKit and Apple Heart Study, are proving to offer compelling use cases, encouraging users to spend more on accessories.”

Apple Watch. Image: Anna Hoychuk/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects