Apple Watch may have shipped to only 22% of US preorder buyers so far




Among US Apple Watch customers who preordered the wearable device, only a small number have so far received one, according to data from research firm Slice Intelli

In a blog post published Sunday, Slice broke down its numbers for Apple Watch preorders and shipments thus far. Two weeks ago, the firm estimated that Apple Watch preorders had hit 1 million in the US. Since then, that number appears to have risen to 1.7 million. Among the first batch of shipments, only 376,000 of people who preordered the watch as of April 10 have received it following its official launch last Friday, according to Slice.

Apple often faces issues of demand outstripping supply when it rolls out a new product. And that’s no different with the Apple Watch. Earlier this month, Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and online stores, acknowledged that “strong customer demand will exceed our supply at launch.” But the Apple Watch is not just a new product; it’s a brand new category with its own unique parts and components. It also represents a different type of retail experience for Apple and its customers.

Instead of offering the watch for immediate sale at its stores, Apple is allowing only in-store and online orders. That means you can’t just walk into an Apple Store and walk out with the watch. You have to make a reservation at a store if you wish to check out the watch in person. And then if want one, you can order it through the store or through Apple’s website or Apple Store app.

However, you can also bypass Apple altogether. Some luxury stores around the world are offering the watch for in-store sale. One CNET reader said she was able to purchase the watch at the Dover Street Market in London after waiting just one hour in line.

So when will the watch reach others who have preordered it? An additional 547,000 watches are scheduled to ship between April 27 and June 11, according to Slice. But around 647,000 buyers, or 38 percent of those who preordered, are still waiting to receive notification as to a delivery date. Apple’s website currently shows a ship date of June for those who order the watch now.

The Apple Watch is available in three different flavors — the entry-level Sport version, the midlevel Apple Watch and the luxury Apple Watch Edition. The Sport version starts at $349, the Apple Watch at $549 and the Apple Watch Edition at $10,000.

Slice bases its numbers of shipping notifications sent to the firm’s panel of 2 million online consumers in the US.

Apple did not immediately respond to CNET’s request for comment