Most Apple Watch users are having a great time with their device, the latest data shows. But analysts remain to be convinced this user satisfaction will translate into sales, at least in the short term.
Many hope for news on Apple Watch sales when the company announces its quarterly earnings tomorrow, though Apple has suggested it won’t disclose direct sales numbers during the call.
“I’m not very anxious in reporting a lot of numbers on Apple Watch,” said Cook last fall, “because competitors look for it.” Logically, that’s no great surprise – version one of the device is aimed only at iPhone users, a much smaller market than the company usually targets.
In a sense the sales numbers don’t matter much. Customer satisfaction is a far closer barometer of product success –- positive and genuine word of mouth recommendations are far harder to achieve and more valuable than any other form of marketing.
In that respect, Apple Watch appears to be doing pretty well. One recent customer poll rates satisfaction at 97 percent among Apple Watch users – a better result than the original iPhone in 2007 (92 percent) or the original iPad in 2010 (91 percent).
“While we don’t know exactly how many Apple Watches have been sold, what we can measure and use as a barometer to judge the success or failure of Apple Watch is if current owners are happy, satisfied, and delighted,” notes Creative Strategies Ben Bajarin, discussing the survey results. “For that, we can safely conclude the answer is a resounding yes.”
This positive reaction means Cantor Fitzgerald expects Apple Watch will be a "go-to gift" this Christmas/Thanksgiving, becoming the best selling new product in Apple's history.
In general, long-term estimates for the product remain strong. But today we hear a more conservative (with a small ‘c’) estimate from analyst, Gene Munster, who pegs 3 million sales of the device, claiming supply constraints and lack of retail availability have slowed sales.
Another incredibly pessimistic report claimed that orders for Apple Watch have plunged 90 percent since the week it went on sale, but most industry watchers are skeptical as to the accuracy of this. “I know they must have sold millions of Apple Watch. Apple has a cult following. If they brought out a hairdryer they would sell a million,” Tweeted Lord Alan Sugar.
Apple will ignite more interest in the device when it introduces iOS 9 and Watch OS 2 this fall. “Our belief in the longer-term value in the Watch is driven by the eventual rollout of native apps starting later this year,” Munster wrote, saying this will give the device “unique functionality."
Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray predicts 3m Apple Watch sales to June, doesn't think it'll really take off until 2017 pic.twitter.com/q1EYzwHnAb— Tim Bradshaw (@tim) July 20, 2015
As the Watch becomes a more uniquely useful device and as app developers introduce new solutions for it, you can anticipate the company will build on the user satisfaction levels it has attained. To Munster this means 2017 will be a “breakout” year for Apple Watch with around 40 million units sold in contrast to 14 million this year.
At this state, analysts appear to be somewhat confused as to how to estimate sales of the new product – just take a look at the conflicting numbers they’re coming up with as reported by Fortune.
Apple will shed some light on its financial results tomorrow at 2 p.m. PT. The company is expected to offer new Watch models in different colors, a fourth-generation iPad and new iMacs this fall, according to Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities.
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