Apple Watch is crushing the competition on mind share

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Investors and consumers alike are skipping Pebble
What on Earth is that?
Photo: Pebble

When it comes to smartwatch mind share, Apple Watch is killing the competition.

That’s just one of several key takeaways from an interesting new study that digs into the public’s perception of smartwatches in general and Apple’s wearable in particular.

For the report, SurveyMonkey asked 417 people questions about Apple’s marketing efforts and smartwatches in general. For starters, they presented a list of companies and asked, “Based on your current knowledge,
which of the following companies make smartwatches?” A whopping 93 percent of respondents identified Apple as a smartwatch manufacturer; the next-highest brand was Samsung at 40 percent.

It’s hard to say whether that overwhelming recognition has translated into sales. During Apple’s quarterly earnings call Tuesday, the company didn’t specify how many Apple Watches it’s sold.

Keeping mum on the actual numbers “wasn’t a matter of not being transparent,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said during the call. “It was a matter of not giving our competition insight.”

Cook claimed that despite some much-publicized and spurious data from Slice, the smartwatch accumulated most of its sales during the last two weeks of the quarter. Slice’s data, which suggests Apple Watch sales dropped 90 percent after the device’s launch, only included online sales. It showed the downturn happening around the time Apple started selling the wearable in its physical retail locations, which probably explains the decline of online activity.

Apple hid the Watch numbers inside the “other products” category of its earnings report, a segment that includes sales of Apple TV, Beats products and licensed accessories. But that number was up almost a billion dollars over last quarter, which suggests that the Apple Watch is selling alright after all.

Name recognition Apple Watch
This kinda sucks for Pebble, since smartwatches are kind of the only thing they do.
Photo: SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey’s report also contains a few other interesting data nuggets, including:

Apple’s ‘personal style’ messaging is pretty popular

SurveyMonkey compared two of Apple’s key messages it uses to sell people on its smartwatch. One is the so-called “person and technology relationship focus,” and the other plays up the style angle, including the Apple Watch’s variety of band types and colors.

Survey Monkey Apple Watch claims
Marketing talk!
Photo: SurveyMonkey

Respondents found these two tactics about equally appealing when it came to influencing their decision to buy and believability, but 41 percent of them found the second claim relevant to themselves. Only 33 percent said the same of the first.

The second spiel also did far better with people who identify as early adopters, with over half of them describing it as “convincing,” “unique,” or “memorable.” But 18 percent of them found it “irritating,” compared to 23 percent of people who wait to buy gadgets.

Early adapters don’t expect much of smartwatches

Smartwatch features early and late adopters
Take that, stupid maps.
Photo: SurveyMonkey

When the survey asked what features are most important for a smartwatch to have, early adopters really went for the obvious. 21 percent wanted text messaging, and 22 wanted to make phone calls from their wrists.

Meanwhile, late adopters far preferred fitness tracking, and neither of them particularly cared about being able to control their phone’s camera. That feature only got 3 percent of votes between both groups.

Oddly, 2 percent of everyone said that photo-sharing app Instagram was a must-have smartwatch feature, and I guess that’s gotta feel pretty good for Instagram. No other specific apps make the list.

So hey, congrats, Instagram.