The Apple Watch is coming. Despite the fact that the smartwatch market has been growing steadily over the last couple of years, many herald Apple’s entry the true starting point.
Leading up to the launch of Apple’s wearable in the early part of 2015, analysts at UBS have put together a semi-comprehensie look at the future spending potential of consumers in several different regions around the globe. Of the 4,000 respondents to the simple survey, a total of 10 percent of them responded that they are “very likely” to pick up a smartwatch within the next year.
Going one step further, the analysts put together projections of iPhones sales, the installed base of Apple’s smartphones that are compatible with the Watch, and found that within the first nine months of the wearable’s availability, a total of 24 million could be sold.
“Figure 10 indicates that 10% of respondents (401 out of 4,000) are very likely and 17% (682 out of 4,000) somewhat likely to buy a smartwatch in the next 12 months. That is a three-fold increase vis-à-vis the 386 respondents claiming to already own a smartwatch and a four-fold increase if we assume that around one-third of the currently owned smartwatches are actually fitness bands.“
The analysts point out that these numbers are wholly dependent on the availability of the product, which is a valid point to make. While the iPhone 6 has been trending positively with consumers, with reports pointing to the iPhone 6 outselling the iPhone 6 Plus in several markets, many argue that the availability of the larger variant is playing a large role in those numbers.
The analysts also conducted a smaller survey that connects to the larger, with questions regarding which smartwatch the consumers were planning on buying. Interestingly enough, Samsung’s Gear-branded smartwatch was picked overall, while the Apple Watch came in a close second. However, the analysts predict that this will change in 2015, when the Apple Watch is actually available to buy.
The analysts point out that the Apple Watch could be a major product not just for Apple, but for the wearables industry as a whole, as they believe the product could reshape the industry just as other Apple products have done in the past. They also suggest that the Watch could become the spiritual successor to the iPhone:
“Cellular and battery technology is not yet sufficiently miniaturized to fit in the Watch and allow independent functioning. We would think the ability to do so is maybe five years away. In fact, the screen size differential may mean that the Watch and the iPhone will prove complements rather than substitutes. Arguably that is the way the iPad and Mac might be playing out, different products for different jobs.
Given that about two-thirds of Apple’s profit is generated by the iPhone, the company has to be concerned about the longer-term threat of replacement technology, whether it be a leap in handset technology or loss of key functions to wearables. With a sophisticated user interface and third-party apps coming on, Apple may be readying for the time when the Apple Watch encroaches on the smartphone market.“