Apple Watch fails to enthuse shoppers in US

Survey says 69% Americans not keen to buy the gadget

Apple Watch fails to enthuse shoppers in US

 Apple’s new smartwatch may be a tough sell, with 69 per cent of Americans indicating they are not interested in buying the gadget, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

However, the survey also showed limited awareness of the watch. The poll was taken after Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook rolled out the product on Monday, and only about half of respondents said they had heard news of the timepiece in the last few days.

Also, in an encouraging sign for Apple, roughly 13 per cent of survey respondents who did not own an iPhone said that they would consider buying one in order to buy an Apple Watch, which needs an iPhone to work fully.

Apple overcame skepticism about the iPad and iPod when they first debuted, but the survey suggests that the world's largest technology company has work to do to make the watch ubiquitous. The new watch, a test of Cook’s leadership, is the company's first new product in five years, and it hits stores on April 24. It allows users to check email, listen to music and make phone calls from their wrist. Apple will sell various versions, from a $349 ‘sport’ edition to a $17,000 18-karat gold timepiece.

Ipsos surveyed 1,245 Americans online between March 9 and March 13. The data was weighted to reflect the US population and has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the poll.

More than half of respondents, 52 per cent, agreed with the statement that smartwatches are a “passing fad”.

One-quarter of respondents said they were interested in purchasing the Apple Watch, but 69 percent said they had no desire, and 6 percent said they were unsure.

Enticing apps

Initial demand for the watch is expected to come primarily from existing iPhone users, but its wider success is seen depending on whether developers create enticing apps tailored to the device, so-called killer apps. Apple is among several large tech companies looking to jumpstart a new market for “wearable” electronic devices. Samsung, Sony and LG have all released their own smartwatches, many of them powered by Google software.

Google recently halted sales to consumers of Glass, a $1,500 screen attached to glasses which were routinely mocked for their awkward appearance.

Roughly 4.6 million smartwatches were sold globally in 2014, according to research firm Strategy Analytics, a fraction of the more than 1 billion smartphones sold worldwide.

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