Walmart has now become the latest large retailer to carry the Apple Watch. The company’s U.S. website has begun selling the Apple Watch Sport and various accessories, including the Sport Band and a magnetic charging cable. Currently, only the 38mm and 42mm Sport models are available in either Silver or Space Gray, for $349-$399.
While the retailer is not yet stocking the Apple Watch on its shelves, it does offer free shipping on orders over $50 and a ship-to-store option for local pickup is also available.
According to Walmart’s website as of today, orders placed online will still arrive by Christmas.
Adding Walmart as a distribution path for the high-end wearable follows similar moves Apple made earlier this year to sell the device on Target.com, and in Target’s U.S. retail stores. At the time, Target was only the second big chain after Best Buy to get the device.
Arguably, the Walmart deal is even more important in terms of boosting Apple Watch sales, given Walmart’s status as one of the world’s largest retailers.
Walmart, however, is not offering any further discounts on the device for the time being – despite the fact that Best Buy just recently slashed the price of the Apple Watch by $100 on its website, in a sale that will extend through Christmas. The Best Buy deal applies to all Apple Watch models and colors.
Target also sold the Apple Watch with a $100 discount on Black Friday, but this was presented in the form of a Target gift card.
News of the discounts and, now, the expanded retail channels, hints that Apple may be attempting to clear out Apple Watch inventory ahead of the rumored reveal of the second-generation Apple Watch. According to sources cited by 9to5Mac.com, the new model may be introduced at a March 2016 event, but it’s unclear what new features or functionality it may offer if that’s the case.
Apple has not discussed unit sales figures for its wearable, which is now closing in on Fitbit to dominate the wearables market. According to IDC, Fitbit has a 22 percent market share versus Apple’s now 18.6 percent. IDC also estimated that Apple saw a boost in sales in the most recent quarter, to reach 3.9 million in shipment volumes. The firm attributed this to the addition of new markets and more channels coming online.
Among those channels were big box retailers. While initially the wearable device was only sold in Apple stores and in select high-end retailers, the Apple Watch arrived at Target, Best Buy, T-Mobile and Sprint stores in more recent months. Target also noted the Watch was one of its top sellers in stores on Black Friday, along with iPads.
Though Apple remains tight-lipped regarding the exact numbers of Watch units shipped or sold, company numbers released in October indicate the Apple Watch accounted for $1.7 billion in sales for fiscal 2015.
One analyst is even estimating Apple will sell 21 million watches in the first year. With Walmart now coming online, those numbers may grow.