Neil Cybart: 36 million wrists now sport an Apple Watch

One of the best of the indie analysts shows his math.

From a note to Above Avalon ($) subscribers posted Wednesday:

Turning to the Apple Watch user base, 6M Apple Watch Series 0 owners upgraded to a newer watch. In addition, 4M people upgraded from Apple Watch Series 1 or 2 to something newer. This means a portion of those 10M people saw their old Apple Watch enter the grey market (let’s say 5M Watches).

We then have another 6M who bought an Apple Watch but stopped wearing it. A portion of those devices may have been passed down to family members or eventually sold into the grey market (let’s say 3M). This means that 8M (5M + 3M) Apple Watches were likely sold or passed down to someone else. Those 8M Watches are added to the installed base to reach a total for the user base.

  • Apple Watch installed base: 28M
  • Apple Watch user base: 36M

This is another way of saying that 28M current Watch wearers purchased an Apple Watch directly from Apple or a third-party retailer. When including pre-owned Watches still in use, there are currently 36M people with an Apple Watch on their wrist today.

My take: Cybart’s guess is as good as any and better than most. For what it’s worth, I’m wearing my third Apple Watch and I’m seeing more of them in the wild.

UPDATE: Speaking of better-than-most, Canalys on Wednesday released its estimate of Apple Watch sales for calendar Q1 (fiscal Q2). It was, as usual, materially less than Cybart’s:

  • Cybart: 4.6 million
  • Canalys: 3.8 million


  1. Jonathan Mackenzie said:
    I do a lot of cashiering (in fact I’m working in a parking booth as I write this). I used to take joy in seeing the occasional watch on a customer. I saw enough to know the device wasn’t a flop, but I could count the number I saw in a given week.

    I see them all the time now. Older men, professional women, college kids. They are everywhere. The adoption curve developed in the way most folks here suspected it would. They have reached critical mass in that no one needs to explain their decision (or be embarrassed that someone might notice they were a tech geek). The Apple Watch is mainstream. I expect it to only gain more enthusiasts from here.

    May 23, 2018
    • Fred Stein said:
      Agree. Adding my equally unscientific sampling.,mainly the people at the gym and seeing similar diversity in the wearer base. Hey, did I coin a term, “wearer base”, vs user base or installed base?

      Note correlation: “one of the best indie analysts” and “shows his math”.

      May 23, 2018
  2. Gregg Thurman said:
    “Inside The Tornado: Marketing Strategies From The Silicon Valley’s Cutting Edge”, Geoffrey A Moore, A Harper’s Business Book

    Moore’s book describes the progression of a paradigm shift, wherein a new product/technology displaces existing market leaders. The Apple Watch has entered the final stage of a paradigm shift (the Tornado).

    Since 2000 Apple has introduced 4 products that have caused technology paradigm shifts. They are iPod, iPhone, iPad and now Apple Watch.

    Apple is currently marketing new products/technologies with the potential to create even more paradigm shifts. They are Apple Pay, Apple Music, HomePod, and mobile Artificial Intelligence, and mobile Augmented Reality.

    Beyond that Apple is actively working on video content to compete with Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Google, and others.

    Given Apple’s past paradigm-shifting history I like Apple’s prospects (very much).

    May 23, 2018
  3. Gregg Thurman said:
    Steve Jobs commented on “The Chasm” (another Geoffrey A Moore book and the Tornado, saying “The Chasm is where many high-tech fortunes have been lost…The Tornado is where many have been made”.

    I can’t help but wonder whether Apple’s product decisions are shaped by the theories in these two books.

    “The Tornado…” was first published in 1995 (The Chasm before that), two years before Jobs’ return to Apple.

    May 23, 2018

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