Apple Smartwatch Could Steal Some Watch Business, Study Finds

If Apple releases a so-called smartwatch, it might take market share from the traditional watch business, according to a new study from the Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council. 

The survey found that nearly two-thirds of those who wear a watch regularly would be likely to switch to the proposed iWatch.

“In the short term, after the watch is introduced, it will hurt,” says JCOC president Elizabeth Chatelain. “It will affect the more traditional watch market at all price points. The nondigital watch may end up somewhat obsolete, because people will want something more.”

The survey also found that: 

  • Consumers who currently wear Guess and Fossil watches would be the most likely to switch to the iWatch.
  • Younger consumers would be most likely to want an iWatch.
  • 19 percent of those who would want an iWatch expect to pay more than $399 for it.

Chatelain says that people will still want brand names, but that watchmakers will have to embrace digital technology. But she also says Apple’s introduction of an iWatch ultimately could expand the market. The survey found that 58 percent of respondents who don’t wear a watch said they might want an iWatch.

“If it’s good as everyone assumes something from Apple will be, it will give a huge boost to that traditional watch area,” Chatelain says. “People who don’t normally wear watches would buy and wear these watches. They will actually grow the entire watch pie.” 

And she predicts that the most coveted brands will retain their pull in the market.

“Someone who is going to spend $5,000 on a watch isn’t going to not want that because of the iWatch,” she says. “The higher-end brand names may not be affected. But some may have to merge the technology with the brand names. And that will take a while because watch makers don’t move very fast.”


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JCK News Director