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Apple Watch Channel Expands to Retailers with Best Buy Availability by Aug 7

by Cliff Raskind | Jul 27, 2015

Apple has so far exercised exceptionally tight control of the Apple Watch purchase experience, exclusively on Apple.com, within Apple stores, and through a handful of select high-end jewelers.  This week, however, Apple announced that the Apple Watch will be available at 100 Best Buy retail locations by August 7th, followed by 200 more in time for the key Q4 holiday shopping season. 16 configurations of the Apple Watch Sport model and a complementary array of wrist straps and other accessories will also stock the shelves of this US retail giant. In other words, we will soon have a significant wholesale market for the Apple Watch.

Strategy Analytics forecasted at launch that Apple would sell 15.4 million Apple Watches in 2015, One assumption was a prediction that in order to boost sales Apple would open up a limited range of SKU's of the Sport model to other retail / online channels and mobile operators (in that order).  I am a bit surprised, however, by how quickly they have got the [snow] ball rolling. 

With nearly a quarter of experience selling the Apple Watch under its belt and a clearer understanding of which SKU's will "move" -- the watch's retail availability should now snowball to a growing number of retailers in other key geographies by year end.  Whether or not mobile operators -- who sell scarcely 5% of wearable devices today globally -- will get into the act by Q4 becomes the key outstanding question.



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