Data & Research

The intersection of iPhone-owning watch-wearers wanting to spend $349 looks small

Dirty straw poll suggests price is also an issue

The intersection of iPhone-owning watch-wearers wanting to spend $349 looks small

A lot can change in four months, which is at least how long we'll be waiting to get our hands on the Apple Watch.

But how many people actually care?

After all, the phone has replaced the watch for the vast majority of people, and those who do wear watches, often wear them irregularly for personal or fashion reasons.

The Apple Watch may come in different funky colours but will Rolex-wearers be adding it to their collections.

And will the Apple fanboys who don't wear watches be prepared to drop +$350 on a messaging and health device?

Ask the public

In looking to get some sort of data, I turned to my most easily accessible resource, the good men (and woman) of Steel Media to create a very quick straw poll.

I asked three simple questions.

  • Do you own an iPhone?
  • Do you wear a watch?
  • Are you going to buy an Apple Watch?

Obviously with only 20 responses, this is not a statistically robust survey but there are some interesting results.

As you can see from the graph, there there's a fairly even split between those who wear watches regularly or sometimes, and non-watch watchers (9 versus 11).

Three simple questions

In terms of iPhone ownership, Steel Media is an iPhone-friendly place with 12 iPhones compared to 8 non-iOS devices.

But the key finding was that the vast majority of people weren't going to buy an Apple Watch when it comes out.

Only two people said they would definitely buy it with one a 'Maybe'.

Two said they might consider buying an Apple Watch 2.

More filtering

Of course, we can drill down deeper into our data to consider buying patterns.

Looking at answers to the three questions we asked, it's no surprise that people who don't have an iPhone and don't wear a watch aren't going to spend $1,000 buy an Apple Watch (and an accompanying iPhone).

There were four of these 'No, No, Nos', and zero 'No, No, Yes'.

They commented

  • I don't like wearing watches, and I don't mind getting things out of my pocket.
  • Anything that tells me reaching for my pocket is too much of an effort and I must, instead, look to a small device strapped to my wrist tethered to that very same phone is incredibly dumb.
  • Not invested in iOS, so would be much better off with an Android equivalent.
  • I don't wear watches, I find them uncomfortable.

Conversely, there was a single 'Yes, Yes, Yes'. An iPhone-using, watch-wearing person is always going to be a potential Apple Watch buyer.

They said:

  • As much as I like the health elements, it's more about having a quick-look device for stuff like maps (when cycling) and the tapping-a-mate stuff is fun.

Our other definite Apple Watch buyer was an 'Yes, No' Apple fanboy. Again this is a category Apple will expect to sell heavily to.

A detailed breakdown of buying intentions

Indeed, the strongest group in terms of buying intentions was the 'Yes, No' group, with one definite purchaser (our fanboy) and one 'Maybe'.

The 'Maybe' commented:

  • I haven't worn a watch since I was a kid, and I remain to be convinced that duplicating some of what I can do on my iPhone on my wrist would improve my life in any meaningful way. I'm willing to be convinced otherwise though, and I do like the design.

Perhaps worrying for Apple, however, was that six of the eight people in the 'Yes, No' group - potential buyers because they are already iPhone users - weren't interested in buying an Apple Watch, and not particularly because they don't like watches.

They commented:

  • It's fun to be a part of a trend, be in the zeitgeist, and the health stuff Apple's shown is neat. But they're not essential to my daily life.
  • When I'm out and about, I like to be able to shut off communications until I'm ready to read emails and messages (by actively pulling out my phone).
  • The need to have your phone connected to all of these devices sort of renders them a little impotent for me. No problem if it syncs for uploads or something but if half the apps don't work without your phone nearby then that negates the advantage of having it.

Even worst, is that three of the four people who have an iPhone and wear watches (the key 'Yes, Yes' group) aren't interested in buying the Apple Watch.

They commented:

  • At some point, wearables will probably be a big thing and I will be laughed at cruelly when I show people my old fashioned watch with only one function. But until developers have worked something up on Apple's latest blank canvas that I like the look of (and when I get to actually have a go on the damn thing), I'm really not that fussed.
  • I'm a cheapskate. My current watch is perfectly adequate. It's not my style. I'm already anxious about the amount of technology in my life
  • I'd like a good smartwatch, but I'm not willing to buy (and use) an iPhone just to give an Apple Watch some brains. I'm also vexed about the notion of having yet another device to charge everyday, especially when my existing, titanium-cased, self-setting dumb watch is solar powered.

Indeed more generally, the price - which isn't yet confirmed, only that it will start at $349, which likely means from around £300 in the UK - was explicitly mentioned by five people (iPhone owners) as being an obstacle to purchase.

  • I definitely see the suggested price tag as a stumbling block for me...
  • I don't really need it. Perhaps I'd reconsider if was on a fitness bender and the device was closer to $100.
  • I think it's very reassuringly expensive for what it actually seems to be /offer at this stage.
  • Right now smartwatches don't do anything that for me justifies the price.
  • Too expensive for my meagre salary.

Finally, taking a wider view on the whole smart watches market, four people mentioned Android Wear, with the $250 Moto 360 having two interested parties.

One comment - albeit it from an Android fanboy (No, Yes') - was:

  • I personally don't find the iWatch designs to be appealing. Android Wear has stolen the march on iOS in this respect, and second-gen Android Wear watches are starting to look more like "normal" watches - which is what people seem to want.
Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

Comments

2 comments
View options
  • Order by latest to oldest
  • Order by oldest to latest
  • Show all replies
Tom Ricket Partner at Inert Soap, LLC
I'll first echo your "super small sampling rate" comment. :) However, while I'm certainly not convinced of the Apple Watch's success, your data seems to imply almost the opposite to me: of 12 people with an iPhone, 2 (+1 maybe) would buy a watch? Heck, if Apple managed to get 1 in 6 iPhone owners to buy a $350 watch, I don't think anyone would complain.

Let's see ... reports say Apple sold about 33 million iPhones in Q4 or 2013. So 5+ million watch sales in a quarter? I suspect they'd be happy with a small fraction of that.
jon jordan
I guess my surprise spring from the fact that this is a group working in the world of mobile entertainment and is predominantly young, tech-friendly and early-adopting.

But, yes, I take the point about the 1/6-1/12 proportion, but weren't the rumours suggesting a multi-million per month production run?

And more interesting will be the update rate. While people get a new iPhone every 2 years, you keep an iPad for much longer. So once you drop +$349 on an Apple Watch, will you buy another one in the same decade?

And, no one knows the answer!