Apple Watch Scores 1 Million Preorders, Analysts Find - InformationWeek

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IoT
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Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
4/13/2015
04:15 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary
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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?

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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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Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio
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Stratustician
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Stratustician,
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4/14/2015 | 2:38:15 PM
Re: This kind of proves the point about the Apple image
I agree.  Unlike other manufacturers, Apple has a huge loyal following which means they will have early adopters in higher numbers than other vendors.  Does it mean it will change the industry or be a dominant player?  Perhaps, but I also think its a novelty thing.  We'll see a huge upfront demand for Apple Watch, but we might never see the same numbers again unless there is real value in it for users. 
GAProgrammer
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GAProgrammer,
User Rank: Ninja
4/14/2015 | 11:05:42 AM
This kind of proves the point about the Apple image
I don't think this is ushering in some new era of "wearable" acceptance - rather, it is proving that there could be an Apple iDoorstop for $300 and people will get in line for it and it will sell out. 

Bravo to Apple for making themselves a status symbol. Just don't read too much into the technological ramifications of this. Also,  keep in mind that they analyzed less than 1% of orders, so I am not sure this data is all that reliable. However, 1 million watches out of 350 million people is .35% - hardly a game changer. A million is not as big as it used to be when there are 7 billion people on the planet and we measure national debts and budgets in trillions. 
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
4/14/2015 | 10:29:51 AM
Re: Data on hand
>> Perhaps what you really want is the mode rather than the mean.  My guess is that most people ordered 1, but enough people ordered 2 or perhaps even 3 to bump the average up just a bit over 1.

Good point Ariella. thanks. 
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Author
4/14/2015 | 9:31:34 AM
Re: Data on hand
@jastroff the same way they have 1.6 children? Perhaps what you really want is the mode rather than the mean.  My guess is that most people ordered 1, but enough people ordered 2 or perhaps even 3 to bump the average up just a bit over 1.
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
4/13/2015 | 5:54:35 PM
Data on hand
How does one order 1.3 watches? can we get some better data? I guess my right wrist and know 1/3 of what my left wrist knows...

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.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
4/13/2015 | 4:53:40 PM
Jean Louis Gasse has it right
From Monday Note: "In the end, only Word of Mouth matters. After two or three months of actual availability, real humans will talk amongst themselves and decide the future of the Apple Watch, just as they did for the iPod and the iPhone. And, come to think of it, their conversation explains sagging iPad sales."
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