Apple Inc. Watch may be blamed for a massive quarterly drop in Swiss watch exports. The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, said that a “marked decline” in September exports led to a drop of 8.5% for the full-quarter, says a report from Reuters.
Is Apple to blame for drop in sales?
With this decline, the Swiss watch exports witnessed their biggest drop since 2009. Sales dropped sharply in all “robust Asian markets,” such as Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea. In Asia, Swiss watch sales were down by 12.7%.
“This negative change has spread to other, hitherto more robust Asian markets, and casts something of a shadow over prospects for the year 2015,” the Federation said.
The Federation noted that the drop was evident across all the price segments, but the major impact was seen in the $200-$500 range, where the sales dropped by 14.5%, raising concerns that Apple Watch “could finally be taking a bite out of the Swiss industry’s stake,” Reuters say.
Though many Swiss firm negated Apple Inc. as a threat, Swatch co-inventor Elmar Mock believed Apple could “put a lot of pressure on the traditional watch industry and jobs in Switzerland,” and “anything in the price range of 500 francs to 1,000 francs ($500-$1,000) is really in danger.”
Even before the release of Apple Watch, the gadget was heavily promoted in Apple’s Swiss retail stores, garnering big interests in the region that is known for its own special watches, says Apple Insider.
Swiss firm beats Apple
Apple may be giving the Swiss firms a run for money, but one Swiss firm has beaten the US firm to be the first to land a foot in the lucrative Chinese payments industry. Swatch, which the biggest watch firm by revenue, launched Bellamy, which is an NFC-toting watch capable of processing mobile trades from UnionPay and the state-owned Bank of Communications Co.
Though Apple Inc. ’s big appeal and a massive user base makes it a threat to the watch makers, the Swiss firm did manage to get a head start on Apple with a launch in China. The launch is in partnership with UnionPay, the only viable processor of NFC payments, says the WSJ. The deal with the state-owned Bank, gives the US firm an unbound access to the regions mobile payments infrastructure.
It must be noted that Bellamy does not directly compete with Apple Watch as the former has no internet connectivity and costs 600 Yuan i.e. $95.