Still no Apple Watch sales numbers from Tim Cook

Apple’s CEO resists but does not refute IDC’s disappointing estimates.

In an e-mail exchange Monday with Reuters’ Julia Love, Tim Cook pushed back against IDC’s report that Apple Watch sales fell 71% last quarter.

He did not, however, dispute the report. Without offering numbers to back up his claims, he predicted record sales, record sell-through and record sales growth this quarter.

“Our data shows that Apple Watch is doing great and looks to be one of the most popular holiday gifts this year,” Cook wrote.

“Sales growth is off the charts. In fact, during the first week of holiday shopping, our sell-through of Apple Watch was greater than any week in the product’s history. And as we expected, we’re on track for the best quarter ever for Apple Watch,” he said.

Apple’s policy from the start has been to treat Watch sales data as a closely held company secret. Without numbers from Apple, however, we have to make do with IDC’s.

UPDATE: Actually, don’t have to make do with IDC’s. Most Apple analysts maintain their own Apple Watch unit sales speadsheets. I’ve updated the chart below to include the numbers Neil Cybart posted today in a note to his Above Avalon suubscribers. According to Cybart, the unit sales fall-off last quarter was 44%, not 71%.

Not seeing the chart? Try the website. 

See also IDC: Apple Watch sales fell 71% last quarter

18 Comments

  1. Tom Wyrick said:

    This makes two Apple3.0 hit-pieces against Apple Watch in two days. Here is the flaw in the latest: “Without numbers from Apple, however, we have to make do with IDC’s.”

    Lacking reliable information, one does not “have to” run a series of misleading articles on the subject. This is the same type of nonsense that IDC and others published about the fabulous success enjoyed by Android tablets a few years back.

    Cook announced more than a year ago that he would not provide Apple Watch sales figure to to Apple’s competitors. So this same story can be published every quarter — as though it is news.

    1
    December 6, 2016
    • With respect, I stand by both stories. Yesterday’s was straight news. Would you have me ignore a data point just because it doesn’t flatter Apple? Today’s story reflects my opinion that transparency is one of the things that made Apple different. I’d hate to see it go away.

      3
      December 6, 2016
      • Tom Wyrick said:

        @PED –
        Yesterday’s Apple3.0 Apple Watch column was an IDC press release. Apple3.0 provided no interpretation at all, so those unhappy with my remarks yesterday may have a personal affinity to IDC. My comments were specific: I said that the IDC table and the chart do not provide a clear, easily-interpreted picture of the market situation. I said that an investor cannot rely on what he/she does not understand. Today, PED says that I disagree because the story “doesn’t flatter Apple.”

        Today’s Apple3.0 column belatedly recognized that yesterday Tim Cook disputed the IDC report, but dismissed Cook’s remarks by saying that unless he releases the true Watch sales numbers there is no alternative to citing IDC. Then, PED later updated with an alternative alternative to IDC, disproving his own previous claim.

        I called today’s article a hit-piece against Apple Watch because IDC has a poor track record going back many years (especially for iPad), while Tim Cook has a reputation for honesty and competence. So when the two disagree, the Apple3.0 headline we get is “Still no Apple Watch sales numbers.” That headline represents very, very old news, and it is inflammatory because it creates an impression of unfulfilled expectations. A false impression.

        Today’s news (published at AppleInsider) says that Apple Watch is currently generating nearly 47% of revenues from online purchases of wearables — which is a broader market than smartwatches.

        So within 24 hours, information has emerged from 3 different sources — Cook, Cybart, AppleInsider– that paint more favorable pictures of Apple Watch than IDC, and moreover the IDC numbers are far below forecasts published on October 25 by Apple3.0.

        Yes, the IDC report is a “data point,” but it is questionable data. AAPL investors should not rely on it.

        0
        December 6, 2016
  2. Tom Wyrick said:

    On October 25, analysts polled by Apple3.0 estimated that Apple sold between 1.6 million and 3.9 million Watches in the calendar 3rd quarter. The lowest forecast by the analysts is almost 50% above the IDC survey figure of 1.1 million.

    ped30.com/2016/10/25/apple-earnings-smackdown-final-spreadsheet-q4-2016/

    0
    December 6, 2016
    • Peter Kropf said:

      Very nice linking to this website’s previous post. It’s a shame PED didn’t mention this as another possibility in today’s negative rumor-weaponized report.

      Fake news here? Say ti ain’t so.

      1
      December 6, 2016
  3. George Ewonus said:

    I would have to agree with you Tom. Philip, with all due respect I think you are losing it. However I am still here and subscribing.

    0
    December 6, 2016
  4. George Ewonus said:

    I certainly respect that Joseph. And I look forward to your commentary. Philip always gets my attention for good reason.

    0
    December 6, 2016
  5. Fred Stein said:

    Hey, let’s get back to the Apple 3.0 article. Tim Cook forecasted best quarter ever for Apple Watch. That’s positive and important.

    The Watch is a successful new product in an area, wearables, that is in its infancy.

    1
    December 6, 2016
  6. David Emery said:

    My $.02: (1) people who are interested in Apple Watch/Smart Watch have probably already bought one. (2) This does make a nice gift for someone who would be interested in it, hence the prediction for very strong holiday sales. (3) a lot of people still want luxury conventional timepieces (Rolex, etc) and the Apple Watch hasn’t broken into that particular niche. (4) A lot of people just don’t want watches, digital or otherwise. (Writes the guy who hasn’t worn a watch in 35 years.)

    0
    December 6, 2016
  7. John Kirk said:

    I simply can’t believe anyone is suggesting that his is a “hit” piece. The sites name is “Apple 3.0.” PED is obligated to report on all things Apple.

    I would argue just the opposite. If PED ignores unfavorable news, then PED is doing this site and its readers a disservice.

    3
    December 6, 2016
    • Peter Kropf said:

      “If PED ignores unfavorable news, then PED is doing this site and its readers a disservice.”

      PED owes us his best every day. Why report /only/ on the IDC view? Why not remention the other estimates/predictions PED reported on 5 weeks earlier? Why not enlighten the ‘debate’ by providing smart background to the issue.

      He massively short changed his report by staying with IDC only and that’s not good enough.

      0
      December 7, 2016
  8. Tom Wyrick said:

    Today’s news about Apple Watch sales (revenues) bears on the discussion. Revenue market share is up from 37% to almost 47% in recent weeks:

    “New data collected by Slice Intelligence shows Apple holding a commanding 46.6 percent of the holiday market share of wearables’ online revenue so far, up from 37 percent at the end of November 2015. Apple’s main competitor in the overall space Fitbit, has fallen from 36.8 percent of the revenue, down to 31.9 percent this year.”

    appleinsider.com/articles/16/12/06/new-study-on-holiday-wearables-sales-gives-apple-watch-dominant-revenue-lead

    0
    December 6, 2016

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