Earlier this year, Apple released the Apple Watch to much fanfare, and a fair amount of skepticism.
Months later, the long term prospects for Apple’s newest product are still debatable, but data is starting to emerge about the device’s initial owners.
A study conducted by Tech.pinions and Wristly looked at members of Wristly’s Apple Watch Owner Network and found that 97% of the Apple Watch owners polled are satisfied with the device, “the highest customer satisfaction rating of any previous version one Apple product.”
Most interestingly, the study found that most of the members of the Wristly Apple Watch Owner Network identified themselves as non-tech users, and customer satisfaction was highest among this group.
A full 73% of non-tech users indicated that they were “very satisfied/delighted” by the Apple Watch. That figure was 10 points lower for respondents who identified themselves as tech insiders, and a whopping 30 points lower for respondents who identified themselves as app builders.
According to Ben Bajarin of Tech.pinions, the qualitative data obtained in the study mirrored this dynamic. He explained:
As I listened to 14 different people tell me about their Apple Watch, I observed a pattern. Those whose job it was to think about the Apple Watch or who were early adopters who thought deeply about tech and the tech products they buy, were all much more critical of the watch. You could tell they evaluated it and thought about it deeply from every angle by their responses. Then I talked with teachers, firefighters, insurance agents, and those not in the tech industry and not hard-core techies. These groups of people couldn’t stop raving about the Apple Watch and how much they loved the product. It was almost as if the farther away people were from tech or the tech industry, the more they liked the Apple Watch.
With this in mind, it’s perhaps not surprising that companies like Facebook and SnapChat have to date not released apps tailored to the Apple Watch. After all, they’re run by techies who might be underestimating the appeal of the Apple Watch.
Some of the skepticism has to do with the fact that companies are still trying to figure out how to design for a new category of device.
Adam Mosseri, the lead for Facebook’s News Feed, told the New York Times “I don’t know if we could get it all in there in a way that feels good and works well. You’d just want to get your phone out at that point.”
Similar concerns were voiced by SnapChat CEO Evan Spiegel, who asked, “Why would you look at a small picture when you can look at a large one on your phone?”
A golden opportunity, or fool’s gold?
If the Tech.pinions and Wristly study is accurate, brands like Facebook and SnapChat might not want to shun the Apple Watch for long.
That such a high percentage of Apple Watch owners are satisfied with the first version of the device is impressive, and even more intriguing is the possibility that mainstream consumers are more fond of the device than their tech-savvy cousins.
But despite the intriguing possibility that the Apple Watch has the potential to be a more important platform than many believe, it’s hard to tell whether it truly represents an untapped opportunity. Part of the problem is that we don’t yet know how many devices Apple has sold, and whether early momentum – analysts estimate Apple sold between 3m and 5m watches last quarter – is being sustained.
If sales are strong and remain strong, Apple’s latest product could deliver on its many promises, such as bringing marketers closer to customers than ever before. But if sales aren’t strong or aren’t keeping the momentum, the Apple Watch could prove to be a fantastic product that’s still too niche to really matter to most brands.