Say what you will about Apple’s nascent wearable, but the company sure can’t seem to keep it stocked on its virtual store shelves. According to unofficial sales figures from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a strong track record of accurately predicting Apple device sales, the Apple Watch likely surpassed global pre-orders of 2.3 million units earlier this week. That’s a near-doubling of the projected 1.25 – 1.5 million sales achieved in the first weekend of availability.
The most popular model? The Apple Watch Sport, according to Kuo. The least expensive model in the lineup reportedly represents 85 percent of orders, while the Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition make up a 15 percent and less than 1 percent, respectively.
The Apple Watch’s momentum speaks to the ingeniousness of Apple’s release strategy. Alongside online-only pre-orders, the company began offering “personalized” appointments at Apple Stores last week to help customers find a suitable fit and finish. That’s given buyers on the fence time to evaluate the offerings, but also given the Apple Watch an aura of exclusivity few gadgets manage to attain.
That exclusivity isn’t entirely organic. Poor yields reportedly led to constrained supply at launch, a reality reflected in statements made by Apple exec Angela Ahrendts. “We expect that strong consumer demand will exceed our supply at launch,” she said on the eve of the Apple Watch’s release. By some estimates, the initial batch of units sold out within the first 10 to 30 minutes.
Despite this early success, Apple’s not resting on its laurels. The company will continue the online-first strategy until at least late May, according to a leaked memo obtained by The Telegraph. Apple’s launching weekly in-store “Apple Watch Basics” workshops to demonstrate the wearable’s functions in a more visible way. And later this month, Apple will open boutique stores in Paris, London, Los Angeles, Berlin, China, and Japan.
Wall Street expects sales of the Apple Watch to ultimately land at between 10 million and 32 million units for the 2015 fiscal year. According to a poll conducted by Reuters and Ipsos, Apple may already be there in terms of intended purchases — six percent of Americans, or 15 million people, plan to purchase the Apple Watch.
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