Slice Intelligence, which tracks online orders by scanning the email inboxes of more than 2M panel members, estimates that Apple has sold 2.79M Apple Watches in the USA, reports Reuters. The estimate does not include sales in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong or Japan.

Slice last month reported that around 1.5M U.S. orders were placed on the first day of pre-orders, with sales tailing off rapidly after this. KGI is estimating worldwide sales of 5-6M Watches in Q3, 20-30% down on earlier estimates.

Sales are likely to be boosted by the availability of in-store pickup as of this week, with global sales set to grow significantly following a launch in a second wave of countries later this month. Apple has not released any numbers, simply saying that it was “thrilled” by the popularity of the Watch … 

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Slice said that around 17% of Apple Watch buyers have ordered a second band, the $49 black Sport band the most popular choice, followed by the $149 Milanese Loop. In a separate analysis, Tech research firm IHS suggested that Apple was making huge markups on the bands.

The company claimed that the 38mm version of the Sport band costs Apple just $2.05 to make, while it retails for $49. However, the company acknowledges that this figure does not reflect the true all-in cost of the band.

The estimates do not include expenses such as packaging and shipping and may not capture the full cost of the material Apple uses to make the band, said analyst Kevin Keller of IHS.

Without factoring in all costs, the headline number is pretty meaningless. Tim Cook said during the last earnings call that he has never seen a cost estimate “that is anywhere close to being accurate.” As I noted last month – when the same company estimated that the 38mm Sports watch cost Apple $84 to make – Cook is likely referring to the fact that component and manufacturing cost breakdowns are a small element of the total cost of bringing a product to market. Such headline numbers ignore costs of R&D, operations, packaging, marketing, sales and distribution among many others.

Our own non-scientific poll showed the Sport in Space Gray to be the most popular choice among our readers, with the Sport band also the most popular choice for those who opted for the stainless steel Watch.

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