From Forbes on April 23, 2015:
When the Apple Watch officially releases this week, can we expect consumers to bite?
According to Prosper’s latest insights from more than 6,000 U.S. adults surveyed during the first week of April, 4.0% are considering purchasing the Apple Watch in the next three months; an additional 3.0% are thinking about buying after the initial frenzy wears down, in the next three to six months. While those single-digit figures may seem small (especially for an Apple product launch), that’s nearly 10 million shoppers eyeing the Apple Watch in the immediate term (within the next three months) and 7.3 million in the market three to six months out. All told, Apple has the potential to adorn 17 million (7.1%) wrists in the next six months – a figure that could finally energize the smartwatch “trend” we’ve been hearing about for the past few years.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, consumers’ consideration of the Apple Watch outpaces existing smartwatches currently in the marketplace. Samsung’s Gear 2/Gear S and the Microsoft Band seem to be Apple’s toughest competition at this juncture, with 6.0% and 5.8% of consumers thinking about buying one of these models in the next six months, respectively, compared to the 7.1% mulling over the Apple Watch. The Motorola Moto 360 (5.5%), Pebble/Pebble Steel (5.4%), and Sony Smartwatch 3 (5.3%) follow.
It also appears that Apple may find its most steadfast smartwatch followers among current iPhone owners; one in ten (10.0%) current devotees is considering purchasing the Apple Watch in the next six months (versus 7.1% of adults in general). Current Samsung Galaxy smartphone owners are showing less enthusiasm for Apple’s latest release, as just 4.8% thinking about buying the Apple Watch in the next six months. Conversely, Galaxy owners are showing slightly more interest in the Samsung Gear 2 or Gear S (6.2% are contemplating a purchase over the next six months), while iPhone users aren’t quite as impressed by Samsung’s smartwatch offerings (5.4%).
With a starting price point of $349, those most likely to consider the Apple Watch over the next six months are pretty interesting. While these potential early adopters are probable to be male (66.1%) and under 35 (60.4%), they are also most highly concentrated among the lower income bracket, with 35.4% reporting household incomes of less than $35,000 a year. Another interesting statistic: 42.2% of these first generation shoppers are Amazon Prime members – so Amazon.com had better have its Apple Watch app ready!
Additionally, the Apple Watch launch may prove to be the catalyst for mobile payment adoption that consumers have been slow to warm to so far. Three out of five (59.2%) of those considering the Apple Watch in the next six months indicate they are “somewhat” or “very” comfortable using their current mobile devices (smartphone and/or tablet) to pay for a transaction at a store check-out counter, more than double the level for adults in general (28.4%).
Overall, consumer interest in wearable technology remains limited; while activity trackers/fitness bands appear to be at the forefront of this trend, only about three in ten (29.0%) assert they are “somewhat” or “very” interested in these devices. Fewer (20.8%) express this same level of interest in smartwatches, though these are insights certainly worth tracking once the Apple Watch reaches the arms of consumers. Time will ultimately tell if the smartwatch device is destined for takeoff.
Pam Goodfellow is Principal Analyst/Consumer Insights Director for Prosper Insights & Analytics™ and editor of the monthly Consumer Snapshot.