Apple took close to 1M pre-orders on Friday for the Apple Watch, according to shopping data firm Slice

Close to 1 million people in the U.S. pre-ordered the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) Watch on Friday, the first day consumers could do so, according to a report from Slice Intelligence, a firm that tracks online ordering.

Slice said it estimates that 957,000 people in the U.S. pre-ordered an Apple Watch on Friday. The company said its preliminary data was gathered from 9,080 people that did pre-order an Apple Watch in the U.S. on Friday, according to ZDNet. That sample came from around 2 million people who use Slice, which is a cross-platform mobile app that tracks online purchases from when customers buy products to when they are delivered, ZDNet noted.

According to electronic receipt data Slice collected, each Apple Watch buyer ordered an average of 1.3 watches, spending $503.83 per watch. Those ordering an entry-level Apple Watch Sport spent $382.83 per watch and those ordering the mid-range Apple Watch spent $707.04. Fully 62 percent of those surveyed purchased the entry-level Apple Watch Sport while around one-third bought the mid-range Apple Watch, Slice said. The firm did not have enough data to track how many purchased the luxury Apple Watch Edition.

To put those figures into context, research firm Canalys reported in February that around 720,000 smart watches running Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android Wear platform were shipped in 2014, or just 15.6 percent of the 4.6 million shipments in the overall smart band market. If Apple ships around 1 million smart watches in fulfilling pre-orders it would instantly become the largest smart watch maker, though the category is still extremely new.

Further, smart watch demand appears to be just a fraction of the demand for smartphones. Apple said in September 2014 it took a record 4 million pre-orders for its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in the first 24 hours of availability for those gadgets.

Apple has not commented on early Apple Watch pre-orders but has said that it expects demand to outstrip supply. Indeed, it appears Apple is sold out of its existing stock of smart watches. On Apple's online store, the Watch Sport and Watch Edition are scheduled to ship in June, and the mid-range Watch is scheduled to ship in four to six weeks.

Early reviews of the watch have been mostly positive, calling the Apple Watch the best smart watch on the market. However, they also knocked the learning curve for its user interface, battery life and the performance of third-party apps. Apple has said that the Watch Sport, the entry-level aluminum model, starts at $349 for the 1.5-inch version and $399 for the 1.65-inch model. The stainless steel mid-range Apple Watch will start at $549 for the 1.5-inch model and $599 for the 1.65 model, with prices ranging up to $1,049 and $1,099 depending on the style of band the devices are paired with. Apple said the luxury, 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition will start at $10,000.

According to Reuters, Wall Street analysts expect Apple to quickly ramp up supply of the watches. "Based on our observations and media reports, launch day supply was largely sold out within the first 10 to 30 minutes depending on model," Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster wrote in a research note.

Munster expects Apple to sell 2.3 million watches in the second quarter, and thinks Apple will increase watch production between mid-May and June. BofA Merrill Lynch expects Apple to ship 4 million smartwatches in the  second quarter, according to Reuters.

For more:
- see this Slice Intelligence post
- see this Quartz article
- see this ZDNet article
- see these two separate Business Insider articles
- see this Reuters article 
- see this Monday Note post

Related Articles:
Apple Watch called best smart watch by reviewers, but is faulted for UI and usefulness
Apple's Cook: The Apple Watch will be the first smart watch that 'matters'
AT&T won't sell the Apple Watch at launch, other carriers silent on sales plans
As Apple prepares to unveil Apple Watch, pricing and battery life are key areas of focus
Report: Apple to produce at least 5M Apple Watches for initial production run
Canalys: Just 720K Android Wear smart watches were shipped in 2014