Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty is predicting that the iWatch could achieve sales of 30-60 million units in its first year as sales growth mimics that of the iPhone or iPad, reports Fortune.

While some analysts point to modest sales of existing smartwatches as evidence that the iWatch is likely to be a relatively minor new category for Apple, Huberty believes that they are using the wrong measure.

It’s that loyalty and the so-called “halo effect,” Huberty writes, not the current watch market, that will drive sales of the unannounced product that she (like everybody else) is calling the iWatch …

Huberty says that her ‘base case’ – the most likely outcome – is that the iWatch matches the first year sales growth of the iPhone. That would see it sell 30 million units in the first 12 months, generating an estimated $9B in additional revenue for Apple. If another noted analyst is correct, those 12 months are likely to begin sometime in November.

Her ‘bull case’ – the most optimistic of the realistic possibilities – is to match the early growth of the iPad, which would double sales to 60M units in the first year. In that case, she says Apple’s stock could climb as high as $132 (equivalent to $924 pre-split).

Huberty does also have a ‘bear case’, where iPhone sales level off and the iWatch fails to take off.

The reality, of course, is that no-one knows. Analysts are attempting to predict the sales of a device whose design is uncertain and feature set unknown. It should also be noted that Huberty has, in the past, predicted even greater things for the iWatch.

But Huberty’s argument is not an unreasonable one: if one had attempted to predict iPhone sales based on the smartphones on the market prior to its launch, that too would have been predicted to be of only moderate appeal. With more than 200 million people part of the Apple ecosystem, a focus on both fitness and fashion, and marketing expertise pulled in from TAG Heuer, the Apple Effect may be substantial.

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12 Responses to “Ecosystem and brand loyalty will see iWatch sales grow as fast as iPhone or iPad, says Morgan Stanley”

  1. There’s some good points here. The “Halo” effect and the seamless integration of all their products together will definitely keep users wanting more. As long as the hardware and software design is as good as iOS and the current crop of iDevices it’s likely it will be a hit. However, without seeing exactly what the “iWatch” is, it’s tough to say it’ll be as successful as the iPhone or iPad.


  2. This is one product where I really get the gut feeling that a lot will depend on the price. My perspective may be flawed but I just don’t see watches as having the same mass appeal and benefit as smartphones in people’s everyday lives. Personally, if this product ends up getting priced as a luxury watch, it’s going to have to have a some impressive practical application and stand very much on its own feet for me to seriously consider buying one. If it’s relies too much on being tethered to my phone/tablet, it’ll be a hard sell.

    I figure this this product will be sensor-laden with lots of health applications, but how big of a market are those who will care enough and know enough about fitness to take advantage of all that (especially if the price is high)?


    • Which is why I don’t think we’ll see it this year. Of course, I’ve been way wrong before.


    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Huberty is basing her revenue estimates on a $300 price-tag. Fitness is fashionable, so it makes sense to me as a focus. Still doubtful they can sell one to me, though – I haven’t worn a watch in a decade and it would take a lot to persuade me …


      • frankman91 says:

        Agreed about never wearing watches, my exception being when I want to class up a suit to a wedding or something.

        I have yet to see any smart-watch functions or even rumored functions that make me want to don a wrist watch again, let alone one I need to take off and plug in every night.

        I also cringe a bit when I picture people standing in the Starbucks line dictating their text messages in to their wrists. It has a d-bag level potential that is very high.


      • I stopped wearing a watch 15 years ago, when i went travelling, as time was less important, and getting in and out of pools and the sea made wearing a decent watch a pain, that was until the Lunatik came out, and i have been wearing an iPod as a watch ever since, it gave me the added advantage of having music that didn’t drain my iPhone as well, i use it for so many things, and spend 6 months a year snowboard in, this is where i benefitted greatly with battery issues always being a consideration in the cold, having my music and cable under my clothes but still having easy access to control it, i most definitely can see this having use but guessing music will be saved on iPhone so battery could be an issue again… Haha


      • How about a device that is on your wrist and unlocks everything you come in range with, without having to physically do anything besides approach it? Decent feature right there. This is a feature I think they could have, using ECG to have a constant authenticated unlocked state on your wrist, and locked when off your wrist. Walk up to your smart locked door or car door and it unlocks before you reach the handle. All of your iOS devices and macs unlocked before you touch them (within feet of course).


      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        It would be an appealing feature, but I’d be happy for my iPhone to do all of that (bar unlocking the phone itself, obviously) ,,,


  3. There is something to be said for the halo effect but as always the truth is somewhere in the middle.


  4. If they make as great design for as other products, plus more features, better battery than Wear devices, will sell as crazy. Honestly, design and working of devices is not an issue at Apple’s house


  5. I’ll stick with my old fashioned Rolex.


  6. The iPhone & iPad sold nowhere near 30 or 60 million in the first year they were available. Yes, the iOS user base is now well-established and very large, but I think those 1st year estimates are too optimistic.

    The only feature that might entice me to wear something on my wrist again would be something to do with identity/authentication. This would require simultaneous introduction of payment systems and various home or car accessories (locks, lights, thermostats, etc.).