Rebutting an IDC analyst report that intimated Apple Watch sales were down more than 70% year-over-year, Tim Cook has announced that the Apple Watch is in fact seeing “off the chart” sales growth (via Reuters).
Although Apple refuses to announce exact numbers for units sold, Cook said that during the first week of holiday shopping, Apple Watch sell-through was higher than any other week in the product’s history. Apple expects the product to be one of the top holiday gifts this year, boosted by the introduction of the Apple Watch Series 2.
Apple does not disclose exact numbers for Apple Watch performance as it does for other products like iPhone, iPad and Mac. This means there are no official numbers about sales performance available; analysts such as IDC attempt to estimate sales from supply chain indicators.
Ahead of the holiday shopping period, Apple revamped the watch hardware lineup and the software offering to answer customer complaints about the first generation Apple Watch units.
The company introduced the Apple Watch Series 2, with waterproofing, GPS, brighter display and faster internals, as well as a spec-bumped Apple Watch Series 1 available at cheaper prices. watchOS 3 reworked the functionality of the side button and streamlined the UI to focus on the watch face and apps.
It seems, in this case, the IDC report was way off. Apple CEO Tim Cook said that during the first week of holiday buying season, Apple Watch sell-through was the highest it has ever been. Sell-through is the rate at which inventory shipped to retail stores are bought by end consumers.
The email note from Cook continues to say that the wearable is on track for its best quarter ever. This will no doubt be taken as good news in the eyes of investors who are looking for ways for Apple to continue company-wide growth as sales of smartphones slow and tablet interest declines.
“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.
However, it’s difficult for analysts to get visibility into the Watch successes and failures as Apple does not break out sales data for it in its earnings report, instead including it in an ‘Other Products’ business that comprises Watch, Beats, iPod and other items.
The holiday quarter is expected to be a blockbuster period for the company with Apple dominating Christmas wish lists: iPhone is the most sought-after gift, MacBook coming in at #2. After a few quarters of revenue decline, Apple has also told investors that it expects to return to revenue growth in the holiday period driven by demand for iPhone 7.