How much demand is there for Apple’s “most personal device ever”? That’s the question that will be busying tech industry analysts for the foreseeable future. Or at least until Apple releases firm sales data on the Apple Watch (if it chooses to do so).
Apple’s debut smartwatch went up for online pre-order on Friday, with in store retail appointments available for those wanting to try before they clicked buy. Shipping fulfilment dates range between late April/early May for those especially quick on the pre-order button, but soon extended into June for many models.
Apple has not specified how many units it made available at pre-order launch, however U.S. online commerce market research firm, Slice Intelligence, has crunched e-receipt data from 9,080 online shoppers to extrapolate some data on U.S.-specific demand over this initial sales period.
On Friday’s pre-order launch day the firm reckons nearly one million (957,000) people in the U.S. pre-ordered an Apple watch. Unsurprisingly, the most popular model to order was the less expensive Sport model — purchased by 62 per cent of U.S. consumers.
(The Sport range starts at $349; the mid-priced Watch line starts at $549; the premium Edition line starts at $10,000.)
The average spent by all U.S. Apple Watch pre-orderers was $503.83, according to Slice’s data. While Apple Watch Sport buyers spent an average of $382.83 per watch, and those purchasing the mid-priced Apple Watch each spent $707.04 on average — so some pre-orderers were splashing out on more than the least expensive model in their chosen range.
Many buyers opted to combine shelling out for a pricier case with spending the minimum possible on a band, with more than a third of buyers opting for the cheapest Sport band, in black or white. It also found that the black Sports band was by far the most popular band option among buyers of both the Sport and Apple Watch lines.
When it comes to the case, most consumers opted for the larger 42mm case — whether they were buying an Apple Watch or the Sport edition — with 71 per cent selecting the larger format. (That may indicate that more pre-orderers were men than women, given relative average wrist sizes, but Slice’s data doesn’t confirm either way.)
Sport Watch buyers were slightly more likely to choose the smaller 38 mm case — with a third (32 per cent) purchasing the smaller version, versus a quarter (24 per cent) of Apple Watch buyers.
The data indicates the most popular type of case among early adopters is the Space Gray aluminum option, chosen by 40 per cent of pre-orderers; followed by stainless steel (34 per cent); silver aluminum (23 per cent). Least popular: Space Black stainless steel (three per cent).
Slice also found that Apple Watch pre-orderers are very engaged and loyal Apple consumers, as you might expect, with 72 per cent of those buying the smartwatch also having purchased another Apple product (iPhone, Apple computer or iPad) in the past two years. While a fifth (21 per cent) had pre-ordered an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus a matter of months ago.
Add to that, nearly a third had purchased two Apple products in the past two years, and 11 per cent had bought all three devices, in addition to their new Apple Watch.
Slice also pulled data on sales of Apple’s new super slim, port-lite Macbook, which also went on sale Friday. It estimates around 48,000 Macbooks were sold online, with the Space Gray colorway the most popular option (58 per cent), followed by the new gold version (36 per cent). The 512 GB model was marginally more popular than the 256 GB model.
Close to half (43 per cent) of Macbook buyers also bought an Apple Watch, according to the data. While a strong majority (75 per cent) of Macbook buyers had purchased another Apple product in the past two years. And a quarter (26 per cent) of Macbook buyers had previously pre-ordered an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus.
It’s worth stressing that these figures are just guesstimates made by one company, and only pertain to the U.S. market — which is just one of nine initial markets where the Apple Watch went up for pre-order Friday. The other eight markets are: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, and the U.K.
Apple does sometimes release sales data for a new device launch so stay tuned for official figures which might land in the next few days.