Strategy Analytics forecasts Apple Watch shipments to decline by 12% in 2016

Apple Watch x3

There is growing consensus that shipments of the Apple watch may have peaked, at least for now, with market tracker Strategy Analytics forecasting a 12% decline this year.

Apple got off to a flyer having only started selling its watch in April of last year, hitting four million units in Q2 alone, according to SA, and matching that the next quarter, according to IDC. But in the year since its launch all we’ve had from Apple is some new straps and the mainstream market still seems unconvinced about the usefulness of smart watches in general spoke to Neil Mawston of SA, who thinks Apple may have lost some of that initial momentum. “We’re forecasting global Apple Watch shipments at in 12.0 million in 2016, slightly down from 13.6 million in 2015, due to a lack of new launches in the first half of the year,” said Mawston.

There’s still time for Apple to pull a rabbit out of the hat, of course, but it’s hard to imagine what Apple Watch v2 could offer that would lead SA to dramatically alter their forecast as the year progresses.

Equity analysts seem to agree. An investment note written by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, seen by a couple of Apple-tracking blogs, put the shipment total at 10.6 million units last year (Apple hasn’t formally published any numbers) and forecast it to fall below 7.5 million this year. Kuo also reckons v2, when it arrives, will be an incremental spec upgrade rather than a major design overhaul.

It’s worth stressing once more that the 2015 numbers were achieved from just three quarters of availability, so these forecasted declines are even more severe on a pro rata basis. Apple seems to have at least 10 million early adopters worldwide who will buy pretty much anything it launches but it needs to do more to appeal to the rest of us. A round face would be a start.

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