Apple and Switzerland are on a collision course in China

Dan Frommer at Quartz:

China’s rising shopping class has been a huge growth driver for both Apple and the Swiss watch industry.

Greater China generated almost 20% of Apple’s revenue last year and more than a third of its growth. Meanwhile, China and Hong Kong accounted for 25% of global Swiss watch exports last year.

Dan goes on to discuss some stats from a recent RBC Capital Markets survey which found that 60% of respondents said they were interested in buying a watch that costs more than $800 over the next year, classic mechanical watches were the most popular type, with a pricing “sweet spot” between $1,600 and $4,000, and that the brands Chinese buyers want are Omega, Rolex, Longines, Cartier, and Tissot. 

So, where does Apple fit into that?

Not included in the poll: Apple, which just launched its new Apple Watch in nine countries, including China and Hong Kong. The survey did ask, however, if the shoppers wanted to buy a smartwatch, a market where Apple stands to play a large role. The majority said yes.

A survey conducted by Hurun Report also indicates that Apple is the most desired luxury brand among wealthy Chinese, both men and women. 

The watch industry is a strange one to look at through the lens of technology. Watch wearers, and collectors of luxury watches, purchase and keep a number of watches, wearing them interchangeably. Apple Watch, however, incentivizes you to wear it every single day and offers features that Apple then hopes you won't be able to live without. 

If Apple can get onto the wrists of watch enthusiasts, the Swiss brands might struggle to claim back that real estate.

Source: Quartz