1 Million Apple Watches Pre-Ordered, Analysts Say

Despite mixed reviews, the Apple Watch looks like it’s off to a strong start, as consumers pre-ordered an estimated 1 million units last weekend, and two analysts predicted it could cause problems for conventional watch companies. 

According to Slice Intelligence, which analyzes consumers’ e-receipt data, 957,000 American consumers pre-ordered the new smart timepiece on April 10, buying an average of 1.3 watches. 

Some 62 percent of buyers chose the low-end model, the Sport, Slice reported.

Analysts from Piper Jaffray and Cowen and Co. also estimated that the company sold 1 million watches. (A lone analyst from Global Equities Research guessed even higher: 2.5 million.)

MacRumors reported the watch sold out within six hours of being posted online.

There were no numbers reported on sales of the widely watched high-end Edition, but one tech blogger tweeted the 18k gold model sold out the first day in China, with the exception of the rose gold version.

Analysts from Pacific Coast Securities/Key Banc believe the new gizmo could spark an “industry-wide contraction” in the conventional timepiece business, similar to the 1970s quartz crisis.

“After trying on the Apple Watch, visiting stores, and based on our field work, we are now more convinced that the Apple Watch will be disruptive to the fashion watch market,” they wrote. “At a minimum, the widespread buzz may cause something of a standstill in the watch market.”

The analysts added that the watch market was already facing cannibalization from the Michael Kors brand, which offered a fashionable product at a lower price point.

But they warned that Apple Watch also faces challenges, including “a lack of overwhelmingly compelling functionality” and a perception that it isn’t “cool” outside of the brand fanbase. In a recent Key Banc consumer survey, a majority of respondents declared that anyone who sports an Apple Watch is “trying too hard.”

JCK News Director