Apple Watch Sales Mystery: How Many Sold Last Quarter?

An image of a quarterly report on a screen Credit: Shutterstock photo

Every quarter, Apple ( AAPL ) discloses how many units it sold of iPhone, iPad and Mac computers, but it doesn't reveal how many Apple Watch smartwatches it sells. That's been the case since the wearable device debuted in April 2015.

[ibd-display-video id=2523808 width=50 float=left autostart=true]So, for the past 10 quarters, Wall Street analysts have had to estimate Apple Watch sales by parsing data from Apple's "other products" line item and other sources. Apple's "other products" category includes sales of Apple Watch as well as Beats headphones, AirPods wireless earbuds, Apple TV set-top boxes, iPod Touch media players and Apple-branded and third-party accessories.

After Apple released results for its fiscal fourth quarter ended Sept. 30 late Thursday, at least nine Wall Street analysts tried to guesstimate how many smartwatches the company sold during the period.

Based on the average of those nine estimates, Apple is believed to have sold 3.6 million Apple Watches in the September quarter.

At the low end of estimates were Needham and Oppenheimer, which each estimated that Apple sold 3 million smartwatches last quarter. On the high end was GBH Insights, which estimated Apple sold 5 million Apple Watches in the period.

Consensus estimates for the current holiday quarter have Apple selling 6.89 million watches. Analysts on average think Apple will sell 14.3 million watches this year and 18.4 million in 2018.

On a conference call with analysts Thursday, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said Apple Watch unit sales grew over 50% for the third consecutive quarter in the fiscal fourth quarter.

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"It continues to be the best selling and most loved smartwatch in the world," Cook said. "We began shipping Apple Watch Series 3 just six weeks ago and customers love the new freedom of cellular. The ability to go for a run with just your Apple Watch or go for a quick errand without your phone while staying connected is a game changer."

He described the Apple Watch as "the ultimate device for a healthy life."

The Apple Watch competes with devices from Fitbit ( FIT ), Garmin ( GRMN ), Samsung and others.

Although Apple Watch is a small part of Apple's total sales, it is an important product for the company, GBH Insights analyst Daniel Ives said in a note Friday.

"While Watch still represents less than 5% of overall sales, we believe this is a very important product category that is a 'gate opener' product for other consumer wearables (e.g. AR glasses, etc.) down the road," Ives said.

Apple shares rose 1% to close at 174.25 on the stock market today .


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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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