Is the Apple Watch already proving the naysayers wrong?

Apple WatchI’ve blogged recently about the market reception to the Apple Watch, which seemed to be somewhat less “ecstatic” compared with previous Apple product introductions — at least in the first few weeks after its unveiling.

Now we have several months behind us — as well as some field research that suggests that the Apple Watch is being very well-received by early adopters.

logoThe findings come courtesy of a research panel of 145 Apple Watch owners who were contacted in late July and early August 2015 by consumer market research company 451 Research. The research sample was drawn from the company’s ChangeWave network of ~25,000 business and technology professionals.

The overall satisfaction level with the Apple Watch among these respondents is ~83%, with ~54% stating that they are “very satisfied” with the product.

In terms of how well the watch is performing in relation to owners’ expectations, almost the same percentage (~79%) state that the Apple Watch is meeting them.

The three attributes of the Apple Watch that are most well-liked are these:

  • Notifications/alerts: ~49% mentioned
  • Health and fitness monitoring: ~41%
  • Design aesthetics of the product: ~30%

The three concerns about the Apple Watch mentioned most frequently are these:

  • Battery life is too short: ~37% mentioned
  • Tied to the iPhone: ~31%
  • Product is not waterproof: ~25%

The battery life issue really is one to “watch,” as it were:  Tracking surveys of Apple Watch owners reveal that more people are checking their battery status at least once per day than are checking their watch faces for the time (!).

Not surprisingly, the Apple Watch poses a competitive threat to more traditional digital watches, as more than four in five respondents report that the Apple Watch has replaced the traditional watches if they had worn one earlier.  (On the other hand, about one third of owners didn’t wear anything on their wrist at all before acquiring their Apple Watch.)

Fitness monitors: Odd man out?
Fitness monitors: Odd man out?

The popularity of the Apple Watch’s health and fitness monitoring capabilities portends problems for competing monitors as well. Nearly half of the Apple Watch owners surveyed by 451 Research reported that they have previously planned on purchasing a monitor, but have since decided not to, thanks to the Apple Watch’s functionality.

As for whether the Apple Watch is becoming an indispensible part of the fabric of daily life with these users as compared to being more of a novelty gadget, the behavior is looking a lot more like the former:

  • Use daily for health and fitness monitoring: ~79% of respondents reported
  • Send and receive text messages daily: ~63%
  • Check weather information daily: ~52%

Perhaps the best indication of how satisfied these early adopters are with the Apple Watch is how they responded to the question, “Would you recommend the Apple Watch to a friend or colleague?”

The answer? More than four in five respondents (~83%) answered in the affirmative: ~55% reported “very likely” and ~28% reported “somewhat likely.”

If consumer response continues along the same lines in the upcoming months, it may well mean that the Apple Watch is on the path to gaining impressive adoption figures — and proving the naysayers wrong.

The real proof will be in the sales figures, of course.  But seeing these indications of early adopters being quite satisfied ith the product’s performance — and willing to recommend it to friends and colleagues — is a very good first step.

If you have begun using an Apple Watch, I’m sure other readers would be interested to know what appeals to you most about it — and what attributes might not be living up your expectations. Please share your experiences here.