Apple reveals first-time buyers are driving Watch sales – but growth slows


Demand among first-time buyers is still dominating Apple Watch sales, the company has revealed.

In the quarterly earnings call, Tim Cook revealed that 2/3 of Apple Watch purchases in Q1 2023 were first-time users, 9to5Mac reports.

Apple recently overhauled its entire line-up of smartwatches, with the Series 8 joined by the all-new Apple Watch Ultra and revamped Apple Watch SE.

That wasn’t enough to drive growth in its Wearables, Home and Accessories division, which saw a decline of 8% in the year. That is against a 5% decline across the entire company.

The Wearables, Home and Accessories division also comprises of AirPods and HomePod.

The decline isn’t unexpected, given the global economic outlook – and events in China with the pandemic affecting production.

But if we simply look at wearables, the company will have to contend with a slowing of innovation.

The Series 8 was not a huge upgrade on its predecessor, and it seems there won’t be a big change in 2023 either, according to Mark Gurman.

New sensors and MicroLED screen technologies aren’t ready to come on stream yet. So while it’s good news that 2/3 of Apple Watch buyers are new to the platform, there doesn’t seem to be huge reasons for people to upgrade quite yet.

Now that the Series 3 has stopped receiving watchOS updates, we’d imagine that a good number of users will look to the new Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen).

But we wouldn’t be surprised to see more quarters of slow wearables growth until new sensors and MicroLED screen tech give users a big reason to jump in.

By James Stables

James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.