Apple looks poised to sell 21 million watches in first year

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The Apple Watch is quickly becoming the dominant wearable.
The Apple Watch is quickly becoming the dominant wearable.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Didn’t think the Apple Watch would catch on? Not everyone agrees, especially analysts who study sales projections.

Cupertino is on track to sell 21 million watches and rake in about $8.4 billion in revenue in the first 12 months of the Apple Watch, according to one of the hottest Apple analysts around. Not bad for a company that entered the wearables game late.

The projections come from Asymco analyst Horace Dediu, who presented his findings at the Glance conference in San Francisco. The conference is headlined by a number of speakers, Dediu included, with observations on the impact of the Apple Watch.

Dediu’s remarks were reported on Twitter by Philip Elmer-DeWitt, an editor at Fortune who is attending the conference. Cult of Mac attempted to reach Dediu, who was not immediately available for comment.

If Dediu is correct about Apple moving 20 million units in its first year (and he usually is), this would further cement Apple as the king of the fast-growing smartwatch segment. Only 6.8 million smartwatches were sold in 2014 by 89 companies, according to a report by Smartwatch Group, with Samsung leading the pack last year.

Apple’s swift rise to the top would be further validation of the company’s “second-mover advantage” — the company is famous for waiting until it gets a product “right,” even if that means not being first to market.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been coy about Apple Watch sales figures, saying only that they exceed company expectations. Apple is on pace to sell 7 million watches by the end of the year, according to projections by Asymco and others. Dediu said another 14 million are projected to sell during the first two quarters of 2016, Elmer-DeWitt reported.

The Apple Watch price has been slashed by $100 at Best Buy and other outlets for the holiday season, and Apple and is expected to roll out a second-generation watch in March. Glance Conference speakers said many prospective buyers are waiting for a newer version that runs more independently of the iPhone before adopting the watch.

In other conference news, research firm Wristly reports 40 percent of Apple Watch users say they have used their nose as an input device.

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  • whodakat

    Total flop. LOL

  • igorsky

    What a flop.

  • Rick

    There will be a lot of unhappy apple customers out there if the apple watch mark 2 is released 1 year after the apple watch. Do apple think that anyone who bought an apple watch (me included) is going to fork out to replace a 1 year old watch.

    • AAPL.To.Break.$130.Soon>:-)

      Why not sell it for half price and put that money towards a new AppleWatch? There should be some sort of market for used AppleWatches for those who aren’t anal tech-heads always needing to have the latest and greatest gadget.

    • stanhope

      Well I won’t be one of them. I’ll happily buy the gen 2 apple watch which I hope has better battery life and is more independent of the phone. I couldn’t care less about thinness. In point of fact, I am hopeful that Apple allows one to pair 2 Apple watches with one iPhone. Like another commenter has suggested, I expect there will be a decent secondary market for gen 1 apple watches and even if not, I’d give it to a friend. No loss.

      • Roguedog

        Exactly!!!

    • David Kaplan 

      I’m thrilled they’re updating it as I expected last year, I’ve been fully planning on getting the 2nd gen since 4/24/15 as I was putting on the first gen, I’ll probably give it to a family member or something and get the mid-tier stainless steel version for the next one.

      • Roguedog

        That’s my plan too. Baited breath.

    • Roguedog

      Yes! I purchased my watch on the day of release, then waited a month for delivery in he full expectation that I would also purchase the next gen on the first day of availability. I might mention that I am thoroughly satisfied with my current watch and expect to be twice as satisfied with AWv2.

    • Garrett Fahey

      Some will and some won’t. Apple updates a number of products every year. If this upsets you, you need to reevaluate your priorities.

    • juanm105

      I have purchased a lot of Apple products since 1989. II also bought an Apple watch for my son and my daughter. I fully recognize that technology improvements don’t ever stop. Why would anybody think otherwise? why would anybody think there would NOT be a new model Apple Watch within 12 – 15 months from the date the original one was announced? It goes without saying that 12-15 months after the next AppleWatch is introduced that Apple WILL INTRODUCE A NEWER ONE and so it goes.No customer should be unhappy because Apple updates one of its products whether it is within 12-15 months or ever. A upgrade is a affirmation that you made a good decision in buying the original product – Apple thinks it was a good product and now can make it even better. Apple is not expecting you as a buyer one year ago to upgrade. It can wait for you to upgrade in two years or three years or whenever. New upgrades results in new users and expands the Apple ecosystem. I would be disappointed in Apple if they didn’t upgrade the technology and kept the old design for more than 18 months. I still own my first iPod and guess what it still works fine.I don’t use it any more since I have an iPhone that takes its place but I still own it.

    • PMB01

      This is every Apple product. Every Samsung product. Every Android product. This is nothing new. Back under your bridge, troll.

  • Gregg_Thurman

    I think the Apple Watch has been, and will be, a huge success. That said I have trouble with the unit forecasts of WS and independent “analysts”. Dediu’s estimate comes closest to sanity, in my option (personal estimate 18 Million units).

    The iPad, with a much better defined use case, and launched in a much better world economic environment, sold 19,483,000 units in its first 12 months of availability. It should be noted that the iPad was launched in April, as was the Apple Watch, and is as of this writing Apple’s most successful new product launch ever.

    The Apple Watch was launched just as the US$ began a sharp valuation increase of about 25% against the world’s currencies. This is a significant headwind causing foreign (not US) sales to be depressed against expectations. It is estimated that the rise in the value of the US$ has depressed Apple’s international revenues in excess of 10%.

    Selling 21 Million units in its first 12 months would make the Apple Watch Apple’s most successful new product launch, displacing the iPad for that honor, and would make the Apple Watch a tremendously successful product.

  • AAPL.To.Break.$130.Soon>:-)

    Every product Apple puts out is considered a flop by the media. It’s pretty stupid considering there are lots of other companies putting out product flops to always single out Apple products.

  • Jared Porter

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my Apple Watch since last April. I’ve also been disappointed from some of the “professional reviews” I have read written by writers whom I have felt don’t really appreciate Watch’s many use cases and benefits in proper perspective. I have talked to many people over the months whom I have spotted wearing the Watch and I have heard a 98% ratio of praise feedback in my unscientific polling (around Seattle).

    So just now I looked up the CUSTOMER REVIEW ratings from 3 websites tonight. I discovered the following:
    1) At Target, there are 36 reviews for the Sport model. Of those, 34 reviews are rated at 5 stars and 2 reviews are rated 4 stars.
    2) At Amazon, there are 315 reviews for the Sport model. The cumulative totals show a 4.5 average rating out of 5 stars.
    3) At Best Buy, there are 1,456 written reviews for the Sport model. The cumulative totals indicate a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
    I like it that these are the very high ratings of real users in the real world. If you don’t believe me, look for yourself.

    The Watch makes a wonderful gift and its “nifty-gifty” packaging will make your “presentation” complete.

    (PS: Sorry to repeat a post I made on Daily Mac if you happened to read this over there. At least here I corrected a grammatical error.)

  • Bobby Bowesing

    21 million watches? haha. Its a POS. I had it for about 60 days before I sold it. The battery was awful, couldn’t go a full working day without charging. Those estimates are HIGHLY inflated, and I doubt they hit 10 million. Let alone double that.