Apple Watch sales dropping off, according to research firm Slice

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is selling many fewer Apple Watch smart watches per day than it did when the gadget first went on sale in April, according to data from Slice Intelligence, a firm that tracks online ordering. Yet as many pointed out in the wake of the Slice report, not only is the estimate of sales imperfect, a drop-off in sales is to be expected and the Apple Watch is still probably the best-selling smart watch on the market.

The data, first provided to Business Insider, shows that Apple Watch sales have fallen from their mid-April debut to the beginning of July. On April 13, Apple was selling about 35,000 watches per day, according to Slice, but by July 2 that number had dropped to 5,000 per day, according to the data. Slice bases these numbers on e-receipt data it received from its panel of 2.5 million online shoppers in the U.S. 

Apple has not disclosed how many watches it has sold. The company only started selling the watch in retail stores in mid-June.

Slice Intelligence had estimated that 957,000 people in the U.S. pre-ordered an Apple Watch in the first few days of pre-orders in April, and some analysts have indicated Apple sold 1.5 million watches within their first week of availability. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrote in a research note in April that Apple likely would take global pre-orders of over 2.3 million units for the watch through the end of May.

Some Wall Street analysts have said they have seen evidence of enthusiasm for the Apple Watch tapering off. Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves wrote in a recent research note that "store visits, Google search volume, third-party data and recent supply checks all suggest demand for Apple Watch has fallen sharply from initial levels."

Yet that is likely normal. Indeed, in a follow-up article Business Insider noted that when the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus first went on sale last September, Apple sold 10 million units over the opening weekend, equating to 3.3 million iPhones per day. However, in January Apple noted it sold 74.5 million iPhones in its holiday quarter, or 828,000 phones per day, a 75 percent drop.

Moreover, as Popular Mechanics notes, the Apple Watch is probably the most popular smart watch on the market, noting that it took Pebble over a year to hit the 1 million sales mark for its smart watch after it went on sale at Best Buy.

Jeff Williams, Apple's senior vice president of operations, said in late May at Re/code's Code Conference that demand for the Apple Watch has been "fantastic."

"Obviously, I can't give you that number," Williams said of Apple Watch sales figures. He did indicate that Apple could sell more of them if it could make them faster. "The only number I will give you is that demand divided by supply is greater than one," he said.

For more:
- see these two separate Business Insider articles
- see this Apple Insider article
- see this Popular Mechanics article

Related articles:
Rumor mill: Next Apple Watch to have video camera for FaceTime
Apple exec hints at strong Apple Watch demand, says the car is the 'ultimate mobile device'
Apple Watch likely won't be in stores until June, as analyst estimates 2.3M global pre-orders
Apple took close to 1M pre-orders on Friday for the Apple Watch, according to shopping data firm Slice
Apple expects demand to outstrip supply of its Watch ahead of sales debut

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