Apple Watch: Analysts anticipate fifth straight quarter of >40% growth

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Nobody outside Apple knows for sure how many Watches have been sold over the past three years. 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 bolder analysts from making educated guesses.

I’ve heard from 14 so far this quarter—six Wall Street professionals and eight independents. Their guesses range from 3.9 million to 7 million. Average estimate: 5.4 million, an increase of 42% year-over-year.

That would make it five straight quarters of better than 40% growth.

To see that in context, click on “Year-over-year (%)”  in the chart below.  Not seeing the whizzy interactive graphic? Click here.

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

watch estimates q4 2018

My take: I don’t expect Apple to release a unit sales number next Thursday, when it reports its September quarter results. But the size of its “Other revenue” category, where the company hides 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.

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

Watch demand likely trailed off during the summer ahead of Apple’s big September event. It would not be surprising if Watch demand slowed somewhat materially at the end of August and early September given the rumors of a more substantial Watch update coming in the pipeline. The result: Watch unit sales may be a bit contained in 4Q18, although that should not be used as a demand indicator for 1Q19.