Black Friday is only a few days away, and Apple stands poised to benefit greatly as consumer electronics are the top of many people’s wish lists. Although thus far it seems as if the Apple Watch has been met with a rather chilly reception—at least compared to what Wall Street had been hoping for—the holiday shopping season might present an opportunity for sales of the smartwatch to pick up.
Black Friday weekend expected to be big as usual
Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White thinks Apple’s lineup is one that will be “tough to beat this season.” Apple products tend to be a favorite gift, and if holiday sales estimates turn out to be accurate, the company stands to benefit greatly this year.
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Based on a recent survey, the National Retail Federation expects 135.8 million people will shop on Thanksgiving or over Black Friday weekend, which runs through Sunday. That covers approximately 58.7% of shoppers, which marks a decline from last year when 61.1% of consumers said they planned to shop on Thanksgiving or over Black Friday weekend.
However, consumers’ plans changed last year, as only 55.5% or 133.7 million people actually ended up shopping. Additionally, the National Retail Federation said that about 183.8 million consumers are planning to shop on Cyber Monday, which amounts to about 79.6% of shoppers.
Tech sales to set new records
The NRF expects a 3.7% increase in total holiday sales, which would bring sales to $630.5 billion but would mark a deceleration from last year’s increase of 4.1%. However, a 3.7% increase would still be better than the 10-year average of a 2.5% increase in holiday sales.
The Consumer Technology Association is projecting “record-setting tech sales” over Black Friday weekend as it estimates that 37% of adults in the U.S., which amounts to 91 million, are planning to buy a tech gadget and/ or accessory. The organization lists the top ten tech categories as: video game consoles, which has climbed from number five last year; TVs, which remained constant with last year’s position; tablets, which have fallen from the top spot over the last few years; laptops; smartphones; headphones; DVD or Blu-ray players; digital cameras, digital toys; and smartwatches.
Apple Watch ranks highly in tech popularity
IBM’s Watson Trend uses artificial interest to gauge consumer interest by analyzing posts on social media, blogs, comments, forums, reviews, and ratings. The system pulls out conversations that are related to purchase decisions, and White noted in his report dated Nov. 23 that Watson trend listed the Apple Watch with the highest score at 100.
In second place were Samsung TVs, which lagged far behind the Apple Watch with a score of 67. Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet was in fourth place after Sony TVs. Beats by Dre headphones (now owned by Apple) were in eighth place, while iMacs were in twelfth place with a score of 15.
White thinks this year’s holiday shopping season might end up being the inflection point for Apple Watch sales and possibly kick off an acceleration in the adoption rate for next year and beyond.