The luxury watch vs. smartwatch debate that seems to be never-ending may not have an end, but it does when it comes to sales. The latest results from analytics firm Strategy Analytics show that, for the first time, smartwatch sales have overtaken Swiss luxury watches on a global scale. The statistics come from Q4 2015, a time in which Samsung’s Gear S2 was available globally for purchase, and the Apple Watch continued its dominant trend. While Swiss watch purchases declined 5% as compared to Q4 2014, smartwatches climbed 316% from Q4 of last year – leading many to believe that the long marriage between consumers and luxury watches is coming to an end.
A large part of the decline for luxury watches, particularly Swiss watches here, has much to do with the failure of luxury watchmakers to embrace smartwatches. There are companies making an effort to embrace this new, mobile age, such as TAG Heuer with its Connected Carrera smartwatch, but most luxury companies such as Patek Philippe, Breitling, Rolex, and others continue to stick to the traditional counterparts and show little desire or intention to make a smartwatch in the here and now or the future, too.
Sales numbers aren’t everything – but they show that the tide is changing when it comes to which watches consumers want on their wrists. With the functionality of smartwatches, and their similar design to smartphones (with touchscreens, notifications, etc.), it’s really easy to explain their growing popularity.