Only Fifth Of U.S. Apple Watches Shipped Over Launch Weekend, Says Data Firm

Apple’s debut wearable, the eponymous Apple Watch, started shipping Friday — with the first batch of buyers getting their hands on the long-awaited Cupertino wrist-computer. (NB: We’re keeping our own Apple Watch diary here, charting evolving observations of TC staffers who have a device at this early stage.)

How many buyers have actually got their hands on an Apple Watch at this point? According to U.S. online commerce market research firm, Slice Intelligence, the launch weekend saw only around a fifth (22 per cent) of U.S. buyers get a delivery from Cupertino. Or 376,000 out of a total of 1.7 million early U.S. orders.

A further 647,000 Apple Watches (ordered by 639,000 U.S. buyers) — so 38 per cent of orders — have yet to be assigned a shipping estimate, according to Slice’s data.

Slice is using shipping notification data sent to its panel of two million online shoppers to calculate the proportion of shipments fulfilled, although its figures are based on just over 10,500 Apple Watch buyers.

It goes on to note that estimated delivery dates sent as notifications to Apple Watch buyers suggest some 547,000 watches will ship between April 27 and June 11, with a third of overall orders (33 per cent) slated to get their device in April, and 28 per cent in May.

Apple, which will be reporting its Q2 earnings later today, has not broken out official sales figures for the Watch. Slice previously used its online shopping panel to calculate there were around 1 million U.S. pre-orders on the first day. Elsewhere, industry analyst Carl Howe is projecting a total of more than 3 million early pre-orders for the device.

Such guesstimates may be all we get for the foreseeable future because Apple tweaked how it reports its financials in its fiscal Q1 at the end of last year — suggesting it plans to keep watch sales under wraps, in a catch all ‘other’ category, along with everything else it sells that’s not a Mac, iPhone, iPad or service (e.g. accessories, iPods, Apple TVs, Beats headphones etc).

Apple officially unveiled the Apple Watch last fall, saying the wearable would be available “early next year”. Shipping estimates for the device quickly slipped from the end of April to June hours after it went up for pre-order earlier this month.

According to additional Slice analysis, a majority (62 per cent) of Apple Watch day-one sales were taken in the first hour of pre-orders.