Last quarter, the Wristly team and I set out to run the first ever Apple Watch customer satisfaction report. Our first survey returned a customer satisfaction level of 97%, which, for a first generation product, is quite impressive. While there were some concerns about bias in our panel because it was an opt-in panel of Apple Watch owners, the reality is all ownership panels are opt-in. This early in the Apple Watch adoption cycle, one can only run a customer satisfaction survey after building up a panel of owners, as Wristly did. So concerns about the panel are moot in my mind. However, we decided to see what customer satisfaction is now that a healthy portion of our existing panel has owned the watch for even longer. We found some interesting results.
1. Customer satisfaction remains high at 96%. Our initial report posted customer satisfaction at 97% and we have more than doubled the panel, which accounts for the 1% drop which is statistically insignificant given the extremely low margin of error (Less than 1%) from with a panel of our size. We consider the sustained high customer satisfaction rate to be encouraging.
2. When we looked at the responses from those in our panel who participated in our first customer satisfaction survey or indicated they received their Apple Watch in the April-May-June quarter, we discovered something interesting. Those who owned the watch since April had the highest overall satisfaction rating. When just looking at satisfaction by month of Apple Watch acquisition, those who purchased the Watch in April also had the highest number of people who selected “very satisfied” out of any other month in which the Watch was acquired. Our interpretation of this is clear — those who owned the watch the longest seemed to become more satisfied over time.
3. Non-techies still love the watch the most. The insight we discovered in our last survey held true even as we doubled the size of our panel. Customer satisfaction for the Apple Watch ranked highest among those consumers who were admittedly not techies or worked in an industry other than tech. Some highlights I thought were most interesting:
- The highest number of those who said they were “very satisfied” also said they worked outside of the tech industry. 71% of this group said they were very satisfied and, in total, this demographic had a satisfaction rating of 98% as compared to those who work in the tech industry where 63% marked “very satisfied” and a total satisfaction rating of 95%.
- The data got even more interesting when we evaluated the satisfaction ratings by reason for purchasing the Apple Watch. Here I’m focusing on making points on those who ranked “very satisfied” and the total satisfaction rating. Those who bought the watch to be used as a watch had the highest number of respondents who checked “very satisfied”. The highest total satisfaction level, both at 98%, came from those who bought the watch for the notification capabilities and to be more active. The lowest satisfaction rating, a total of 93%, came from those who stated their sole purpose for buying was to evaluate it for tech or business. This group also had the highest level of respondents who checked “somewhat dissatisfied”. Again emphasizing the point I’ve made before that those who are looking to scrutinize and evaluate the watch have a different opinion of it than those who bought it for specific features they valued, such as for health and fitness.
- The age demographic with the highest total satisfaction level was the 18-24-year-old group with a total satisfaction rating of 98%. While the age demographic with the highest number of “very satisfied” owners is the 55+ demographic. While the highest total satisfaction rating came from men, more women checked the “very satisfied” box than men. Lastly, the only demographic who checked the “very dissatisfied” box was women.
Our ability to segment satisfaction ratings by occupation, age, and purchase intention is extremely helpful for us to understand the nuances of a product like the Apple Watch over a broad range of consumers. The shift of percentage of respondents who moved from “somewhat satisfied” to “very satisfied” is perhaps the most significant data point in my mind. This is in stark contrast to other wearable products where third party data confirms the product ends up in a drawer after six months to a year.
Prospects Going Forward
Based on satisfaction ratings, it is clear the Apple Watch is not a flop, nor will it be, since usage and behavior trends over time are quite encouraging. We know those who bought it love it. But what about interest in Apple Watch by those who don’t own one? Here I also have some research to share.
From my own primary research of iPhone owners, when asked if they were interested in buying a wearable (i.e. Fitbit, Apple Watch, Jawbone, etc.) this holiday season, 52% said no and 48% said yes. When asked which wearable they are most interested in, 39% said the Apple Watch, 37% said a Fitbit product, 8% said Jawbone, and 5% said Garmin. The key takeaway is the Apple Watch and Fitbit are the most dominant brands when it comes to interest in purchasing by iPhone owners worldwide. When it comes to the potential upside for Apple to gain existing Fitbit owners, the statistic that those who purchased it for its fitness capabilities had the highest total satisfaction levels is important. Compare that data with this analysis by our own Jan Dawson on Fitbit abandonment rates as analyzed from their own S-1.
The number bounces around at about 50%, rising or falling a little over time but remaining remarkably constant. In one sense, that’s obviously fairly bad news – in addition to the fact that very few Fitbit buyers purchase a second device, it would appear that half of those who bought one stop using it after a period of time.
Comparing this point to our own Wristly data of continued usage.
Even those who got the watch in the earliest cycles of April-May are still wearing it today. In fact, the largest group that say they still wear it all day, every day are those who got it in April. During my analysis of wearables, dating back to well before Apple announced and released the Watch, I pounded on the point that the vast majority of research surrounding the category and all the existing players was that consumer response indicated they saw little to no value in the product. That trend is roughly in line today with all but the Apple Watch. The hard data is from my own research and from Wristly’s as well. It makes it hard to not conclude that, at least for now, the Apple Watch remains in a category by itself.