In what appears to be a rebuttal of a popular IDC report claiming that Apple Watch shipments dropped by 71% year-over-year in the third quarter, Tim Cook revealed to Reuters that the Watch is on track to have its best quarter yet. Julia Love quotes Cook:
“Our data shows that Apple Watch is doing great and looks to be one of the most popular holiday gifts this year,” Cook wrote.
“Sales growth is off the charts. In fact, during the first week of holiday shopping, our sell-through of Apple Watch was greater than any week in the product’s history. And as we expected, we’re on track for the best quarter ever for Apple Watch,” he said.
I don’t think IDC’s estimates, if accurate, are entirely unexpected; nor do I think Cook’s response is incongruous with what IDC said. IDC specifically looked at the third calendar quarter: July through the end of September. The new Apple Watch lineup was announced on September 7 and began shipping on September 16, just 14 days before the end of the quarter IDC measured. Furthermore, even at the beginning of the quarter, the then-current Watch was over a year old. Those combined factors are enough to make Watch sales decline significantly for those three months.
Apple is going into this holiday quarter with a fresh Watch lineup that starts (and tops out) at a lower price, is easier to use, and has even more integrations. Cook’s statement seems solid to me, and he seems exuberant about the sales prospects of the Watch this quarter.
Then again, as Jason Snell says:
Or, to put this in a form Amazon’s Jeff Bezos would understand…
I wonder if there’s a time when Apple will start revealing hard sales figures for the Watch.