Slice Intelligence, which monitors purchase receipts in the email inboxes of a panel of two million online shoppers, has published a chart showing that the majority of Apple Watch orders were placed on the first day of pre-orders, and have since fallen to far smaller numbers than some analysts have predicted.

Quartz tech editor Dan Frommer notes that while the company’s data shows that almost 1.5 million U.S. orders were placed on day one (up from its initial estimate of one million), subsequent orders have typically been running at under 30,000 per day – compared to the 100,000 per day globally needed to meet some predictions … 

It could even be said that Apple Watch sales fell dramatically after the first hour, a separate chart posted by the company on its own website showing that 800,000 orders – more than half of the first day’s total – were placed within an hour of online presales opening.


KGI significantly lowered its own sales forecast a couple of days ago, cutting its estimates by 20-30% to 5-6 million units in the third quarter. Slice did not reveal model breakdowns, but our own unscientific poll of more than 17,000 readers showed the Sport in Space Gray to be the most popular model, accounting for 40% of sales, followed by the Apple Watch in silver, the Sport in silver and the Apple Watch in Space Black.

There are, though, a number of things to note here. First, Slice’s data represents U.S. sales only, while the watch is on sale in eight other countries: the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong and Japan.

Second, as Frommer notes, Apple appears to have sold more than two million Apple Watches in one country in less than a month, compared to several months to sell as many iPhones and more than two years to sell two million units of the product that changed Apple’s fortunes: the iPod. This is a successful product launch by any standard.

Also likely significant is the fact that you can’t yet walk into an Apple retail store and buy a watch. While the type of tech enthusiasts who were waiting impatiently for Apple to release the watch may have been happy to order online, sight unseen, that isn’t going to be true of most ordinary people. And this product, more than any other that Apple has ever made, has been targeted at the mass market, with coverage in fashion magazines and product placement with celebrities.

But Apple, more than most companies, sees its performance judged not by any rational measure of success, but by comparison with sometimes hyped expectations. Don’t be surprised to read a few ‘Apple is doomed’ posts based on these numbers …

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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