Best Buy discounts Apple Watch: Simple sale or sign of weaker demand?

Best Buy discounts the Apple Watch by $100 in a move that either will bring in more traffic or reflect that interest in the wearable isn't converting to sales.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Best Buy has moved to discount the Apple Watch by $100 in a move that may bring in traffic to the retailer and/or reflect there's interest, but not the expected demand for the device.

Discounting and Apple are generally two words that don't go together. However, Best Buy used an iPad sale to garner traffic and now Apple Watch is in the playbook. All Apple Watches on Best Buy appear to be $100 off.

Best Buy's pricing has undercut both Amazon and Apple's own site.

The move to put the Apple Watch on sale comes as 9 to 5 Mac reported that a March event will reveal the Apple Watch 2. The timing of that report is likely to make Apple cringe a bit given it could freeze the market.

As for Apple Watch demand, don't read too much into Best Buy's sale. For instance, IBM Watson Trend app shows that the Apple Watch remains at its buzz peak after a dip a few days ago.


Then again anecdotal reports about the Apple Watch sell-through are mixed. In my own spot checks, I've seen interest in the Apple Watch, but ultimately purchases of an iPad or another device from the company. Wall Street reports highlight something similar. FBR analyst Daniel Ives noted that there was interest in the Apple Watch. How much interest turned into sales remains to be seen.

More on Apple Watch: CNET reviews, pricing | Apple Watch Sport review: Apple sets high bar for smartwatches on first attempt | Hands-on with the Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch: Can this really be my perfect smartwatch? | Report: Apple event in March: Apple Watch 2, iPhone 6c inbound? | What unhappy Apple Watch owners think: Limited, poor battery, lacks value

Ives, who noted that Apple Watch is in a "prove it" scenario with demand, said in a report after Black Friday:

While supply constraints/a choppy launch period have caused stumbles out of the gates for Cook & Co. on the Apple Watch front since April's unveiling, we have slowly seen momentum in the field over the last few months; this morning, we heard of ramping interest/sales among consumers based on our conversations at various Apple, Target, and Best Buy stores. While Watch unit sales have been roughly 6 million since launch, based on our analysis and improving consumer interest heading into the holiday season, we believe Watch sales in the December quarter should be close to the 5 million-/6 million-unit mark. Taking a step back, Apple Watch is still a rounding error on overall Apple sales; however, the wearables category is an important area for Apple going forward, and Watch sales are being closely watched into the holiday season as a barometer for future growth/product areas.
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