When it comes to making the release of a product into a cultural celebration, no company compares to Apple. This certainly translates to the release of the Apple Watch. CEO Tim Cook recently made the case on why the Apple Watch is a must-have gadget at a San Francisco event. Will this product shatter all expectations like the release of iPad, throwing cyber-egg on critic’s faces? Or will it flounder like other smart watches, perhaps going the way of the Google Glass dodo?
Data reveals that the sailing of the Apple Watch could encounter some choppy waters—as the much-touted release is still not resonating with consumers beyond Apple enthusiasts. This and more findings are highlighted in a survey qSample conducted with more than 300 panelists in the last week of February.
According to the study, the release of the Apple Watch is split between the general population:
– 41% are interested.
– 41% are not interested.
– 18% have no idea of its arrival.
Of those surveyed who prefer Apple products (31%), the interest in the Apple Watch doubles to 82%.
The indifference from those who prefer either Android or Kindle could reflect the notion that wearable technology is not appealing, as a majority of respondents admit (39%) . Also challenging, 26% state their indifference stems from Apple Watch being too expensive (18% hold a “see and wait” attitude for the gadget).
Still, Apple’s brand will likely hold some sway. A majority of respondents (36%) believe that the Apple Watch will be superior to other smart watches, while only four percent feel the competitors produce better products. Furthermore, a majority (39%) contend that Apple is releasing this product to remain competitive in the tech industry, instead of just wanting to make a profit (26%) or exploit its loyal fan base (22%).
As for the Apple Watch itself, those who plan in purchasing it claim these reasons:
1. A new way to utilize apps and integrate with other devices (24%).
2. Wanting to be part of the latest technology (19%).
3. Other reasons (16%).
4. I like anything Apple releases (15%).
5. Its design/fashion (9%).
(17% answered “all of the above”)
The low interest in the Apple Watch as a fashion brand could be further problematic. Apple is diverging from its “affordable luxury” marketing philosophy, offering some models at a retail of up to $10,000. In the online survey, 50% of respondents state they would not pay more than the baseline price of $350. Only 13% of respondents claim that price was not an issue, potentially leaving it in danger of becoming a niche product like Google Glass.
Adding to the seemingly indecision of consumers for the Apple Watch, a majority of those surveyed who are interested (36%) have no idea as to what type of Apple Watch they will purchase (between the Watch, Watch Sport, and Edition Watch). When it comes to the success of the actual product, the results are a bit more split with the panel: 47% believe the Apple Watch will not be a permanent staple for mobile devices, and 38% deem it will be.
In the online survey, a majority of participants were female (57%), while a majority (37%) fall in the 51-65 age group (odd since Apple as a brand is notably considered to attract a younger generation).
As mentioned, Apple certainly possesses the track record to rewrite trends and expectations. It was Steve Jobs who famously said that customers don’t know what they want; they have to be taught what they want. This attitude certainly paid dividends with such products as the Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. Will it work with the Apple Watch?
It is too soon to tell, but the study points to Apple having some hurdles to overcome, mainly an apathy towards wearable technology and a consumer base not fully informed. This time, though, it will not have Jobs to educate the consumer. That also could be an issue—as in the study 80% of respondents think Jobs is a superior CEO than Cook.
Perhaps Cook will have to sell himself before selling the Apple Watch.