Apple appears to be experiencing a learning moment that many of its Android arch-rivals, including Samsung have already painfully experienced -- you can lead customers to smartwatches, but you can't make them buy.
Indeed, the Apple Watch is a blockbuster -- but in smartwatch terms. Last year all Android OEMs combined only summed up to roughly 720,000 sales of Android Wear smartwatches. When the Apple Watch went on sale on April 10 via a preorder, it quickly racked up 1.5 million orders, in a week doubling Android's entire sales total for the last year.
But it's been a bumpy ride from that point.
Until mid-June the Apple Watch was not generally available for order. Apple blamed supply issues, complaining that supply struggles were sinking sales volume. But with supply reportedly smoothing out, Apple is running out of excuses. Apple Watches are available -- Apple fans just don't seem to want them.
That's the take home from a new market research report from Slice Intelligence, a firm that tracks purchasing decisions based on a proven methodology. To track sales, Slice Intelligence examines a "slice" of the market -- 2 million consumer subscribers who have consented to having their email receipts screened.
According to Slice's numbers, during the strong start Apple was selling around 200,000 Apple Watches per day -- a very impressive mark. But currently it's only selling around 20,000 on a good day, or between 4,000 and 10,000 on a not-so-good day. Extrapolating for a month of sales (assuming 50% good days) that equates to pre-holiday monthly sales of around 405,000 Apple Watches per month.
Again this is very impressive -- by Android Wear standards. But it is nothing short of an epic fail by the unrealistic expectations set by analysts who predicted tens of millions of sales and the development of a third tier to the iPhone + iPad mobile legion. So far it's looking like nowhere near as many customers want a smartwatch as want a tablet or smartphone.
MarketWatch claims that Apple has sold only roughly 2,000 units of the gold "Watch Edition", which starts at $10,000 USD. While likely up to two-thirds of that total are pure profit, it's a fair question to ask whether that $13M or so in profit is worth it for all the jokes, negative publicity, and criticism the overpriced model brought. Either way, it's clear that if the public is lukewarm on the prospect of the plain old Apple Watch, it's even more apathetic on the prospect of paying 10 grand for a gold encased smartwatch masquerading as a nouveau luxury brand.
Search results offer further proof that the hope of Apple Watches becoming a sales juggernaut is a wholly unrealistic expectation. Interest and consumer awareness just aren't there. Whether it's the rudeness of constantly looking at your wrist rather than your companions, the confusing new set of controls, or perhaps simple "gadget fatigue" -- smartwatches seem to be hot on the minds of only a small slice of tech geeks.