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Apple Watch Scores 1 Million Preorders, Analysts Find

Most buyers opted for the cheapest Apple Watch option possible, says research firm. However, do the numbers point to a new trend in wearables?
10 Apple Acquisitions: What Do They Mean?
10 Apple Acquisitions: What Do They Mean?
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Apple began accepting preorders for its smartwatch on April 10, and the action was fast and furious. Most Apple Watch models quickly sold out for delivery on April 24, with many orders not shipping until June or July. Analysts believe nearly one million people placed orders for the highly-anticipated wearable.

The majority of buyers ordered the least expensive version of the Apple Watch.

Slice Intelligence estimates some 957,000 consumers in the United States alone ordered the Apple Watch on Friday. The Watch was also available to consumers in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, and the UK. Slice analyzed e-receipt data from some 9,080 US transactions to divine its numbers.

Its data suggests the average buyer ordered 1.3 watches, spending about $504 per watch. That number comes from combining the average selling price of $383 for the Apple Watch Sport and $707 for the Apple Watch. Slice spotted some interesting trends in the purchasing data.

Three out of five consumers (62%) bought the less-expensive Sport Model, which costs $349 for the 38-mm case and $399 for the 42-mm case. Most buyers, about 71%, picked the 42-mm case over the 38-mm case. The Apple Watch mid-range model ($549/$599) grabbed most of the remaining 38% of early pre-orders. The Apple Watch costs more than the Watch Sport because it steps up the materials to stainless steel and sapphire. Slice said of the consumers who upgraded to the more expensive Apple Watch case, most stuck with the cheapest band option possible.

Looking at trend data from the different cases, 40% of Apple Watch buyers picked the space gray aluminum, 34% chose stainless steel, 23% chose silver aluminum, and just 3% opted for space black stainless steel.

The simple black sport band was by far the most popular band among those preordering the Watch Sport and Apple Watch. Slice says 64% of those who picked the less expensive Watch Sport went with the black sport band, while 28% of Apple Watch buyers chose the same. About 22% of Watch Sport buyers opted for the white band, while 25% of Apple Watch purchasers picked the pricey Milanese loop (an extra $149).

Apple did not corroborate Slice Intelligence's data by providing any of its own. The company may or may not share information about early sales of the Apple Watch, but when the numbers are good Apple generally likes to crow about them.

[Read about Apple Watch apps.]

Are one million preorders for the Apple Watch a lot?

Comparatively: Yes.

The entire market for wearables saw shipments of 4.6 million devices in 2014. Of those, only 720,000 were smartwatches with Google's Android Wear platform on board. Google began selling Android Wear smartwatches in July, so that number represents shipments over a six-month period. Pebble shipped about 600,000 smartwatches between March and December 2014, or about 6,700 watches per month.

Clearly anticipation for the Apple Watch was high. Apple has been building up the wearable for nearly seven months. Early reviews of the device were mixed at best. It will be more surprising to see if Apple can maintain any sort of momentum for the device -- if it can ramp up production enough to ship the Watch sooner than two months from now.

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