How many Watches did Apple sell last quarter (Q3 2018)

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The 3.5 million reported by Canalys today is just one firm’s guess—and a low one at that.

 

Nobody outside Apple really knows how many Watches the company sells each quarter. Tim Cook resolved early on—for competitive reasons, he says—to hold those sales numbers close to his chest.

That hasn’t stopped some of the braver analysts from making educated guesses.

I’ve heard from 13 so far this quarter—six Wall Street professionals and seven independents. Their estimates range from 3.8 million to 6 million. Average estimate: 4.6 million, representing 65% year over year growth. (See Cybart caution below.)

Plotting the average estimates over the past two and half years, estimated sales look something like this:

apple watches q3 2018

Click to enlarge.

Below: The individual analyst estimates, pros in blue, indies in green.

watch q3 2018

My take: I don’t expect Apple to release a unit sales number for Watches when it reports its quarterly results next Tuesday, July 31. But the size of its “Other revenue” category, where the company buries Watch sales, may tell us something about who was closest to the mark. I’ll be monitoring the earnings call, and you can too. Click here.

Curiously, Neil Cybart, who submitted the high Watch estimate six months ago, has the low estimate today. In a note to Above Avalon ($) subscribers Wednesday he explained:

I am running with the assumption that if Apple Watch revenue or unit sales exceeded 50% growth in 2Q18, Apple management would have said as much. By just saying “strong double digits” year-over-year growth, the implication is Apple Watch grew somewhere in the 40% to 50% range. This is something to keep in mind next week when management provides new clues regarding Watch sales during the conference call.