Apple's newest product category is wireless headphones, and although the AirPods have yet to go on sale, there are some signs that it could find a very receptive consumer base.
12% of U.S. consumers surveyed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch say they intend to purchase AirPods, apparently on the strength of Apple's marketing, given that few people have actually seen and tried them out.
This is a very bullish sign for Apple, says BAML. "12% of the US installed base could lead to up to an incremental $3bn in revenue," writes the analysts.
Here's the chart:
Reasons why some consumers might not decide to opt for Apple's $159 earbuds include that they believe their current headphones are good enough (56% of respondents) and that they're too expensive (40% of respondents.)
Compare this buzz to Apple's other big wearable launch in the last two years, the Apple Watch. Apple recently subtly updated the device, dubbing the new version "Watch Series 2." But the upgrade doesn't seem to have generated as much demand as the AirPods.
"Only a small portion of respondents own the Watch Series 1 and only 8% of respondents intend to buy the Watch Series 2," the analysts wrote in a note distributed to clients.
Here's the breakdown:
Apple has never broken out its Apple Watch sales or revenue, leaving analysts and investors to guess. The Wall Street Journal estimated that Apple's smartwatch business tallied $6 billion in its first year. For the last quarter that estimates are available, Apple sold 1.6 million Apple Watches, down 56.7% from the same period in 2015, according to an IDC estimate.
Perhaps Apple's top brass in Cupertino should focus its wearable attention on its new headphones.
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