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Apple watch success not guaranteed, Dixons carphone CEO says

Friday, March 13, 2015 - 00:37

[LONDON] The success of Apple Inc's new smartwatch is by no means guaranteed, according to the head of Dixons Carphone Plc, the UK's biggest seller of consumer electronics.

"Your wrist is a very personal piece of inventory and we'll have to see whether people are willing to give it up," Chief Executive Officer Sebastian James said in an interview yesterday in London.

"The Apple Watch could be an enormous success, but we really don't know." London-based Dixons Carphone, formed through last year's merger of Dixons Retail and Carphone Warehouse, sells smartwatches manufactured by the likes of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, LG Electronics Inc and Sony Corp. The retailer also offers products and services that aim to capitalize on rising demand for connected devices in the home, James said at an industry conference.

In selling wrist watches, Cupertino, California-based Apple is taking on a four-century-old industry and so faces a different set of challenges to those it encountered when it began selling the industry-defining iPhones and iPads, James said.

"If you spend 300 pounds on a TAG Heuer then you've got that for life," Mr James said. "But if you buy a smartwatch, in two or three years time you will want a new one because the technology has moved on."

Apple will begin selling its latest gadget in its own stores next month, with prices ranging from US$349 for its entry- level model to over US$10,000 for a gold luxury version.

While Apple is yet to announce when the device will be made available to other retailers, Mr James said his "suspicion" is that they will have the item in stock for the holiday shopping season. Dixons Carphone currently sells more Apple products than any other European retailer, he said.

The global market for all smartwatches may rise to 28.1 million units this year from 4.6 million in 2014, with Apple capturing 55 per cent of the market despite its belated entry, according to researcher Strategy Analytics.

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