Tech enthusiasts, Apple fans, and industry watchers have been discussing the Apple Watch nonstop for months. Now that the device can be preordered, has the Apple Watch gotten off to a good start among consumers? How many people have already preordered an Apple Watch? And how is Apple’s supply of the smartwatch holding up to demand?
Slice Intelligence, a firm that tracks and projects American consumers’ spending through e-commerce email receipts, projects that Apple received almost a million preorders for the Apple Watch on Friday, April 10, the first day that the watch was available to preorder. Quartz’s Dan Frommer reports that the firm’s projections are based on the receipts from 9,080 online shoppers.
According to ereceipt data from its panel of two million online shoppers, Slice determined that each Apple Watch buyer ordered an average of 1.3 watches and spent $503.83 per watch. Customers who ordered an Apple Watch Sport spent an average of $382.83 per watch while those who ordered an Apple Watch spent an average of $707.04. 72% of consumers who bought an Apple Watch had purchased another Apple product, such as an iPhone, Mac, or iPad, in the past two years, and 21% of them had preordered an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. Almost a third of them purchased two Apple products and 11% bought all three devices, in addition to the Apple Watch.
Sixty-two percent of consumers purchased a watch from the Apple Watch Sport line, which starts at $349. (And Frommer notes that preorders of watches in the gold Edition series, which starts at $10,000, didn’t represent enough preorders to show up in Slice’s report.) Many Apple Watch buyers invested in the pricier case but the cheapest band. More than a third added a black or white Sport band.
Whether they chose the Apple Watch Sport or the Apple Watch, most consumers opted for the larger case — choosing 42mm instead of 38mm — with 71% choosing the larger size. Apple Watch Sport buyers were slightly more likely to choose the 38mm case, with 32% choosing the smaller version, versus only 24% of Apple Watch buyers. The most popular color when it comes to cases was the Space Gray aluminum case, chosen by 40% of Apple Watch buyers, followed by stainless steel at 34%, silver aluminum at 23%, and Space Black stainless steel at 3%.
The black Sport band was by far the most popular choice among both Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport buyers, with 49% overall ordering one, followed by the white Sport band at 16% and the pricier Milanese Loop — which costs $149 versus $49 for the black Sport band — rounding out the top three at about 10% of preorders.
As interesting as they are, there are a few caveats with Slice’s projections. Frommer notes that the projections are based on just one firm’s data — the accuracy of which Apple has yet to comment — and reflects only orders by U.S. consumers. It’s possible that order profiles were different in other countries. Frommer notes that Apple is unlikely to reveal much about the Apple Watch’s sales. It’s already announced that it won’t report them as a specific category in its quarterly earnings reports, but will instead bundle them with other products.
The Apple Watch will actually go on sale starting April 24 in nine countries: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. It’s unclear how much inventory Apple will have at its stores, and while it’s encouraged customers to preorder, the stock it had allocated for preorders seems to have quickly sold out. The availability for U.S. preorders is now mostly in May and June, depending on the model.
Ina Fried reported for Re/Code that within an hour of the Apple Watch going up for preorder on Apple’s website, the lead time of some models already stretched until June, and only a few models would ship sooner than in four to six weeks. Fried notes that Apple is juggling limited supply and the need to have models stocked in store, both as demo units and to enable at least some consumers to purchase the watch in-store. Neil Hughes reported for Apple Insider that according to an informal survey of Apple’s retail employees, conducted by Timothy Arcuri of Cowen and Company, between 85 and 90% of customers who had an appointment to try on the Apple Watch ended up preordering the watch.
BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk said in a research note that “The start of Apple Watch preorders was typical Apple.” He added, “Expected delivery dates were pushed out for the most popular models within five minutes and within the hour only a few models remained available for a launch day delivery.” He explained, “It’s impossible to know whether the rapid pushout of delivery dates is meaningful to sales. The appeal of the Apple Watch will become clearer when it starts populating among consumers and we see how the product is used.” While Apple always gets a boost in sales with the introduction of a new product, a more important measure will be how the watch sells once the first wave of early adopters has passed.