The Data Digest: The Apple Watch: What Makes Consumers Tick?

The unveiling of the Apple Watch in early September left consumers and industry analysts with more questions than answers. After the sluggish sales of smartwatch predecessors, what is the actual market opportunity for Apple’s wrist-based wearable? Will consumers’ perception of the technology motivate them to make a purchase? And what type of consumer is most receptive to this device? 

In my recently published report, I leverage Forrester’s Technographics®360 multimethodology research approach to answer these questions. So far, reaction to the Apple Watch has ranged from skepticism to enthusiasm, and our data shows that the story of Apple Watch adoption is indeed two-sided. Our evaluation of consumer behavior and attitudes reveals an immediate market opportunity for the device as well as psychological barriers to adoption: 

However, the story doesn’t end there. Between the advantages and challenges of Apple Watch adoption emerges a third reality, which synthesizes the two. Apple Watch uptake will evolve, with early adopters, motivated by excitement, biting first and a second wave of mainstream consumers – who can see and experience the benefits of the device – buying next.

Historically, Apple has been one of the best in the industry at teaching consumers about new categories of devices, just as it did with the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. And real-time consumer reaction during the Apple Watch debut revealed overwhelmingly favorable visceral responses to the technology. Therefore, Apple is poised to drive the smartwatch market and, once again, catalyze a new category of products and experiences.

Forrester clients can access the recording of my webinar, which details this research and features commentary from my colleague JP Gownder, by clicking here