I’ve taken multiple jabs at the usefulness of smartwatches over the past couple of years. To many (myself included), they simply don’t serve a purpose or fill a need – they’re a solution waiting for a problem to happen.
Nevertheless, major technology brands have continued to pump out the high-tech wearables and slowly but surely, consumers have started to come around. In fact, smartwatch shipments during the fourth quarter of 2015 actually surpassed those of traditional Swiss watches for the first time ever according to market research firm Strategy Analytics.
Global shipments of smartwatches hit 8.1 million in Q4 2015, up from just 1.9 million in the year-ago quarter. Swiss watch shipments, meanwhile, slid to 7.9 million during the same period, down from 8.3 million in Q4 2014. Or in other words, smartwatch shipments grew by 315.6 percent while Swiss watch shipments fell by 4.8 percent.
Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, said the Swiss watch industry has been very slow to react to the development of smartwatches. In fact, Mawston likened the Swiss watch industry to the (incorrect) myth about ostriches sticking their heads in the sand and hoping smartwatches will go away.
That’s not to say that every Swiss watchmaker has been ignoring the smartwatch trend. Tag Heuer, for example, launched an Android Wear smartwatch of its own late last year. Priced at $1,500, the Tag Heuer Connected Watch was a hot seller during the holidays and forced the company to ramp up production to meet demand.