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Apple Watches Discounted by as Much as $100 Spur Holiday Sales -- Maybe

FBR Capital Markets and IBM's Watson Trend report point to gathering consumer interest in the Apple Watch.


A holiday discount of up to $100 goosed lagging sales of the Apple Watch, it seems, as retailers Target and Best Buy dangled the wearable to lure shoppers.

Electronics giant Best Buy offered $100 off the stainless steel Apple Watch on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and $50 off the Apple Watch Sport the week before. The promotions dropped prices to $449 and $299, respectively. Target offered a $100 gift card with the purchase of an Apple Watch.

The deals apparently were enough to entice gadget-lovers, who’ve been slow to embrace Apple’s smartwatch. Researcher Canalys projects that Apple has shipped seven million Apple Watches since its introduction this April — well shy of some Wall Street analysts’ expectations for Apple’s first new product category since 2010.

FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives cited anecdotal evidence that consumer interest in the Apple Watch is growing, along with sales, based on conversations at various Apple, Best Buy and Target stores on Black Friday. He forecast December quarter sales should approach 5 million to 6 million units.

There are other hints that consumer interest in Apple’s first wearable is on the rise. IBM’s Watson Trend report cited the Apple Watch as among a handful of tech items topping consumer shopping lists.

Apple, naturally, is keeping mum, declining to discuss sales outside of its quarterly earnings reports (and really, not even then — unless you count vague generalities).

A Best Buy spokesperson confirmed the promotion, but declined to discuss sales. Target did not respond to a request seeking comment.

Analysts like Ives said wearable technology could be the next big trend in computing, representing a $20 billion market opportunity for companies like Apple over the next three years.

“The longer-term consumer adoption curve for the Apple Watch remains a major ‘hot button’ question among tech investors, as broad customer demand is yet to be seen, and as Apple enters a major ‘prove me’ period during the holiday season,” Ives wrote.

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