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Is Apple biting Swiss watch sales?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - 01:48

Apple's Smartwatch goes on sale in Switzerland later this week as Swiss watch exports fall. Hayley Platt asks if there's a link?

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Time for a change. When Apple entered the watch market with its smartwatch back in April it threatened to wind up the industry - annoy it that is, not destroy it. Now new figures from the Swiss Watch Federation show a near 10 percent fall in exports in May - the first fall in five years. They put it down to two public holidays in May but Apple designer Jony Ive has reportedly said his product could have an impact too. Antonis Maroulise is a watch expert at IHS. SOUNDBITE: Antonios Maroulis, Analyst, IHS Technology, saying (English): "It could be at some point that consumers are anticipating availability of the Apple watch but we expect that number to be relatively low." The Smartwatch industry is growing fast. Last year 3.6 million shipments were made. This year it's expected to be 10 times that. And by 2020 it could be over 100 million a year. Mike Ingram is a market strategist at BGC. SOUNDBITE: Mike Ingram, Market Strategist, BGC Partners, saying (English): "There's a feeling generally that this will actually eat into some profits. You've seen a number of analysts suggest that it might take between 5 and 10 percent out of the Swiss watch market, certainly for this year and that's probably why you're starting to see the softness in those export numbers." There are still a number of smartwatch issues to be ironed out. Battery life for one. Apple's watch only lasts a week, compared to an entire year with some traditional watches. SOUNDBITE: Antonios Maroulis, Analyst, IHS Technology, saying (English): "As a first generation product there's a lot of room for improvement, there's a lot of aspects that need to be corrected. It's still a work in progress and it will be more defined with the second and third generations." Traditional watch makers like Montblanc, Richemont and Swatch Group have all been tinkering with smartwatch designs of their own. They'll certainly be keeping an eye on Apple when their watch goes on sale in Switzerland on Friday.

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Is Apple biting Swiss watch sales?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - 01:48