Monday, July 14, 2014

Analyst Believes Apple Fanboys Could Scoop Up 30 to 60 million iWatches In First Year

According to Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty, Apple merely needs to release an iWatch and then sit back and rely on the fact that Apple fans will buy whatever comes out of Cupertino in order for the company to sell as many as 60 million units in its first year.

Huberty believes Apple's ecosystem, combined with an unrelenting sense of brand loyalty generating a "halo effect" could mean big things for Apple once the company releases their rumored iWatch. If the wearable device's sales numbers follow the same trajectory as iPhone sales, Apple could conservatively see sales revenues boosted by $9 billion during the first year alone.

Huberty offered up three sales scenarios.
  • Base case: iWatch sales follow the same trajectory as iPhone sales, and Apple sells some 30 million units, which if sold at $300 each would boost revenue by $9 billion.
  • Bull case: iWatch sales follow the same trajectory as iPad sales, and Apple sells some 60 million units, and shares increase to $132 (equivalent to $924 at pre-split prices).
But what if things go wrong? There's where the bear case comes into play.
  • Bear case: iPhone sales flatline, there's no interest in iWatches, and Apple's share price falls to $74.
Huberty is not alone in predicting big things for Apple and the iWatch. Not long ago UBS analyst Steven Milunovich said that he believed that the iWatch could match initial sales of the iPad, with the Cupertino giant shipping 21 million units during the 2015 financial year, and 36 million units during 2016. Following this trajectory, the iWatch would become Apple's fastest-selling iOS product to date.

Not all is wine and roses for Apple and the iWatch though. A recent survey from Piper Jaffray showed that only 1% of those polled would buy an iWatch if it costs between $300 and $350, and 35% of respondents wouldn't buy a wearable from Apple regardless of the price. While most consumers said they wouldn't purchase one regardless of the price, more than 30% said they would buy the iWatch if it fell in the $100-$200 price range. Only 10% said they would buy the watch if it was priced at $100 or less, as shown in the chart from Statista posted below.

Infographic: Consumer Interest In iWatch Depends On Its Price | Statista

The low willingness to pay for the rumored device could become a problem for Apple. After all, it seems hardly imaginable that the company known for its premium pricing will market the iWatch with all of its alleged capabilities for less than $200. What makes pricing for the iWatch so difficult is that, as opposed to the iPhone, it won’t be subsidized by wireless carriers. For it to become a mainstream success, it will have to be priced like an iPod rather than like an iPhone.

Do you think Apple's entry into the wearables market will have the major impact analysts believe it will? Despite being first to the market, and already on their second generation, Samsung is still stumbling to make a major impact. Now with other companies like LG and Motorola entering the market we are quickly see a lot of saturation in the wearables sector.

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