David Deal is a marketing executive, digital junkie, and pop culture lover.
The Apple Watch outsold the entire Swiss watch industry in 2019. Now let this reality sink in: five years ago, technology watchers said the Apple Watch was a flop and a disappointment.
What happened to the Apple Watch between 2015 and 2020?
It’s not about the watch. The success of the Apple Watch is all about wellness care.
When Apple launched the Apple Watch in 2015, CEO Tim Cook knew that its future depended not on people using the device to tell time and get directions. Apple had its eyes on the rise of wellness care.
Over the years, Apple developed the device to help people keep themselves fit and be more aware of their health. By 2020, the latest Apple Watch could help you track your workout routines, manage your diet, notify you if you have an irregular heart rhythm, and track menstrual cycles, among many other wellness-related features.
The Apple Watch hit the market as the wellness industry was taking off. Rising healthcare costs and changing consumer attitudes created a boom in wellness care, which includes fitness, dieting, and generally any self-care practice that keeps people healthy and away from expensive hospitals. By 2018, wellness had become a $4.2 trillion industry, growing annually at a 12.8 percent rate. As a result, by 2020, the Apple Watch had shipped 30.7 million units worldwide, compared to 21.1 million for all Swiss watch brands combined. And wellness care shows no signs of slowing down.
But its success is not a matter of developing the right product for the right time. The Apple Watch is one element of a broader strategy for Apple to be the data backbone of healthcare. That strategy has three key elements:
And this, my friends, is how Apple has surpassed the Swiss watch industry: by playing in a completely different industry. By creating a durable ecosystem. As Tim Cook put it recently, “Apple’s largest contribution to mankind will be in improving people’s health and well-being.” That’s a lofty and compelling standard. But someone else already figured out how to tell time.
Note that I am an Apple Investor. For more insight into the evolution of the Apple Watch over the years: