Apple Watch Contributes to Steep Decline in Sales of Conventional Watches

Apple Watch and hairy arm

The debut of the Apple Watch has had a negative effect on one longtime product category. According to market research firm NPD Group, American sales of conventional watches fell dramatically during the month of June — something the company attributes to the launch of the Apple Watch.

NPD reported to Bloomberg that unit sales of watches were down 14 percent year-over-year to about 927,500. That’s the steepest decline in sales since 2008, and retail revenue for those watches declined by 11 percent to $375 million. NPD luxury division head Fred Levin said that watches selling for less than $1,000 were most likely to be impacted by the Apple Watch, as that’s the price range for the most popular Apple Watch models. The numbers prove that he’s correct, as watches tagged between $50 and $999 saw a drop in sales in June, with the biggest decline in the market for timepieces priced between $100 and $150.

Bloomberg noted that Apple doesn’t share sales or revenue numbers for the Apple Watch, so the impact of the Apple Watch on sales of conventional watches could be over- or under-estimated. The category that contains the Watch gained $950 million in revenues during the product’s first quarter of sales, so a guesstimate points to sales of at least 1.9 million of the Watches at an average selling price of $499.

It should also be pointed out that other smartwatches may also be gaining in popularity and contributing to the decline in regular watch sales. Even though smartwatches from Pebble, Motorola, and Garmin have been less successful than the Apple Watch, sales of those brands could be dipping into conventional watch sales.


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