Ahead of the original Apple Watch launch, Tim Cook during an earnings conference call said that Apple would not be disclosing Apple Watch sales figures. The ostensible reasoning at the time was that Apple didn’t want competitors to see its sales data. While that line of reasoning may have arguably seemed plausible a few years back, the landscape today is a lot different. The Apple Watch has been around for two and a half years and is a mature product at this point. And still, Apple remains reluctant to provide us with concrete sales figures for the Apple Watch, save for some abstract statements about increasing sales. During Apple’s most recent earnings conference call, for example, Tim Cook boasted that Apple Watch sales were up 50% year over year.
That’s an impressive figure, to be sure, but it still seems somewhat bizarre that Apple refuses to divulge specific sales figures, especially if Apple Watch sales continue to trend upwards. With Apple keeping quiet, the only way to ascertain how many Apple Watch units Apple has sold to date is to rely upon guesstimates from analysts. It may not be an exact science, but it’s all we’ve got.
While some analyst projections are laughably all over the map, Horace Dediu’s work with respect to sales projections stands out for being especially meticulous and precise. So while we’ve seen Apple Watch sales estimates before, it’s always worth paying attention when Dediu throws his hat in the ring.
Earlier this week, Dediu posted an interesting and well-researched piece on Asymco which seeks to deduce the extent of Apple Watch sales thus far. When the dust settled, Dediu believes that Apple has sold 33 million Apple Watch units thus far.
My estimate has been that Apple sold about 15 million Watches in the last 12 months at an average price of about $330. This puts the Apple Watch revenue run rate at $4.9 billion, indeed above Rolex.
They may be slightly high but the news makes me feel quite comfortable in my methodology. Note also that within the last quarter Apple said sales for the Watch increased by 50%. This is also reflected in my estimate of 3 million in Q2 vs. ~2 million for 2016 Q2.
Overall, about 33 million Apple Watch units have been sold since launch and they generated about $12 billion in sales. Coupled with a 95% customer satisfaction score, altogether, this has been a great success story. But only 2.5 years in, it’s still act one.
Looking ahead, Apple Watch sales are poised to climb to even greater heights in the near future. With the first LTE Apple Watch models now on the market, some analysts anticipate that Apple Watch sales will jump by 33% in 2018 alone. According to supply chain sources cited by Digitimes last month, Apple Watch sales in 2018 will check in at 20 million units.