Apple looks poised to sell 21 million watches in first year

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Simple fitness trackers from Fitbit, Xiaomi and Garmin outsold Apple Watch during the third quarter.
Simple fitness trackers from Fitbit, Xiaomi and Garmin outsold Apple Watch during the third quarter.
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.