Who was that suggesting the Apple Watch wouldn’t hit big? Apple started pre-selling three editions of its smart watch on Friday in cities around the world. Pre-orders hit nearly 1 million in the United States alone, according to a report from Slice Intelligence.
The Apple Watch lets you send messages, read e-mail and answer calls to your iPhone from your wrist. There's a Taptic Engine that alerts you with a tap so you don't miss notifications. Meanwhile, Digital Touch lets you communicate by sending a sketch, a tap or using the rhythm of your heartbeat. The device even comes equipped with Apple Pay and health and fitness features.
Apple Watch is available in three collections, Apple Watch Sport, priced at $349 and $399; Apple Watch, available from $549 to $1,099; and Apple Watch Edition, crafted from custom rose or yellow 18-karat gold alloys, with prices starting at $10,000.
Despite what Slice calls “ho-hum reviews, even by some of the most ardent Apple fans,” it seems the future is bright for Apple Watch. Slice tapped into e-receipt data from a panel of 2 million online shoppers that reveals each Apple Watch buyer ordered an average of 1.3 watches, spending $503.83 per watch. Consumers who ordered the Apple Watch Sport edition spent $382.83 per watch and those ordering the Apple Watch edition spent $707.04.
“Among those buying an Apple Watch, 72 percent purchased an Apple product in the past two years -- iPhone, Apple computer or iPad -- and 21 percent of them pre-ordered an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus mere months ago,” Jaimee Minney, vice president of marketing and public relations at Slice, wrote in a blog post. “Nearly one-third purchased two Apple products and 11 percent bought all three devices, in addition to their new watch.”
Accessories Also Selling
According to Slice data, 62 percent purchased the less-expensive Sport model. However, many Apple Watch buyers invested in the pricier case but the cheapest band, with more than one third adding a black or white Sport band, she said.
“Whether they bought an Apple Watch or the Sport edition, most consumers opted for the larger 42 mm case, with 71 percent overall selecting the larger format,” Minney said. “Sport buyers were slightly more likely to choose the 38 millimeter case, with 32 percent purchasing the smaller version, versus 24 percent of Apple Watch buyers.”
In terms of cases, Slice data shows 40 percent of consumers who bought Apple watches picked the space gray aluminum. Another 34 percent picked the silver aluminum case and only 3 percent selected the space black stainless steel.
“The Black Sport Band was by far the most popular among both Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport buyers, with 49 percent overall pre-ordering one, followed by the White Sport Band at 16 percent and the more expensive Milanese Loop -- $149 versus $49 for the black Sport band -- rounding out the top three at around 10 percent,” Minney said.
Buying Sight Unseen
We asked Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics, for his take on the initial, unofficial numbers. He told us if Apple can continue to sell a million units every quarter it would make the company one of the most profitable watchmakers and the fourth-largest watchmaker by revenue on the planet. Apple would be second to Swatch in profitability and just behind Rolex in revenue -- right off the bat.
“Other companies are working a hundred years on this and Apple does it on day one,” Entner said. He noted that he was not surprised about the strong pre-orders because Apple has built so much cache that consumers are willing to give its new products a try almost sight unseen.
“If you told people about a new Apple product that cost $400 and asked them if they would buy it, 1 million people would say yes," Entner said. "They don’t even need to know what it is -- and more often than not they wouldn’t be disappointed. Since the second coming of Steve Jobs, the missteps that Apple has taken are few and far between.”