The company has decided to aim for a different niche market than its top competitors such as Apple.
Swatch Group has now revealed that the direction it will be taking in smartwatch technology will be in its plastic brand that will be available for a lower price and that it would be continuing in that direction before it would consider installing its tech into more expensive brands such as Apple.
Based in Biel, Switzerland, the company also owns top brands such as Omega, Tissot and Longines.
Swatch has already launched its first smartwatch in January into the Chinese market. The device featured remote mobile payments functions and, according to Nick Hayek, the company’s chief exec, its reception by customers there went “really well.” The Swatch Bellamy wearable technology, which is a version of one of the brand’s plastic watches, is NFC tech equipped and comes with a price tag of about $88. It is expected that this device will launched into the American, Swiss and Brazilian markets later in 2016.
The smartwatch market is expected to play a vital role in the future of Swatch, which is not as safe as other Swiss watchmakers.
At a Biel news conference, Hayek explained that “It’s not that we have nothing in the pipeline, we are a huge producer in every segment in every category.” The company is often seen as being the Swiss watchmaker with the greatest vulnerability at the moment, when it comes to facing competition from global tech giants such as Samsung and Apple. In fact, Swatch produces wearables that are comparable to those from Samsung as many of its devices are meant to be sold in the under-$1,000 category.
Projections from the International Data Corporation have shown that it is likely that there will be about 34.3 million smartwatches shipped this year. This will be a massive increase over last year’s figure, which was 21.3 million units. By 2019, that market researcher expects that shipments will have skyrocketed to 88.3 million units.
Many analysts feel that Swatch’s long term survival will greatly depend on its entry and success in the smartwatch market, particularly in the category below a $1,000 price tag.