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More than a year after its release, and still no one wants to buy an Apple Watch

AP Photo/Eric Risberg
Back in the box.
  • Mike Murphy
By Mike Murphy

Technology editor

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

It’s been over a year since the Apple Watch was first released, and I’ve argued that no one needed to buy one, but now it seems that very few people want one either.

Quartz recently polled 534 US iPhone owners using SurveyMonkey Audience (methodology details are below)—and found that the first year of the watch’s availability doesn’t seem to have changed many people’s perceptions of the device.

In early 2015, before the launch of the watch, Quartz ran a similar survey, asking iPhone owners if they planned to buy one. Only about 5% of owners thought it very likely they’d buy a watch in the next 12 months. A little over a year later, not too much has changed: Only about 8% of those surveyed this time said they owned an Apple Watch.

Small audience

The outlook for the next year isn’t much better: Less than 5% of respondents surveyed that didn’t already own an Apple Watch said they were either extremely likely or very likely to purchase an Apple Watch if a new version is released this year.

Interestingly, it does seem that Apple has found a niche of loyalists. Of the few respondents who had purchased a watch, about 17% said they were extremely likely or very likely to upgrade to a new model—a far higher percentage than the general iPhone-owning respondents.

New features be damned

But most people seem unconvinced by utility of the Apple Watch, even when considering the rumored potential features for the next Apple Watch. The majority of respondents said that a thinner, faster watch that didn’t need to be tethered to an iPhone wouldn’t sway them into buying one.

Still too expensive

The greatest bugbear is still the price: The original Apple Watch started at $349 (although it’s since been knocked down to $299), and respondents overwhelmingly stated that if the next version cost that much, they wouldn’t be interested.

See it to believe it

The vast majority of people surveyed, whether they’re actively considering an Apple Watch or not, said they would have to see it in person before buying one.

Perhaps if, like many products before it, Apple nails the watch in its second generation, the average Apple customer, when perusing the mall or high street, will see the new Apple Watch in an Apple store window, be intrigued, pop their head in, and walk out with a wearable computer.

Or maybe not.

Some details on the methodology behind our poll data: The survey of 534 iPhone-owning adults was conducted June 21 – July 5, 2016 using SurveyMonkey Audience, a proprietary online panel. Respondents for this survey were selected to mirror the age and sex proportions of adults according to the U.S. Census. 

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