Research Report: Very High User Satisfaction With Apple Watch

A report from 451 Research said that 87 percent of Apple Watch customers are very (54 percent) or somewhat (33 percent) satisfied. Key likes include notifications as well as health and fitness monitoring. Key dislikes include dissatisfaction with battery life and the reliance on the iPhone.

451 Resesrch

The sample size was 145 users which is on the small side for a report like this. No mention was made of whether the 145 participants were a random sample. I inquired about this, and the response from Andy Golub, the Managing Director, was:

The findings are based upon a July 27 – August 4, 2015 consumer survey of Apple Watch owners, and a total of 145 respondents from 451 Research’s ChangeWave survey network participated. 451 leverages its ChangeWave network of 25,000 business and technology professionals...

That wording suggests voluntary responses. In any case, the interesting things about this report were the two lists of key likes and dislikes.

451 Research

Discussion of Likes

The first two likes are notable in that they reflect the general feeling in the Apple community about the utility of the Apple Watch. The ability of the Apple Watch to be "always there" when it comes to important notifications is acknowledged to be a key design element in Apple's thinking.

In terms of health and fitness monitoring, there are devices on the market that can do a better, more complete job of fitness tracking. However, it seems that, in some cases, what the Apple Watch can do is sufficient for those who are enthusiastic about owning an iPhone and being in the Apple camp.

What was surprising about to this editor is the 7th place and poor showing for Apple Pay. The convenience of paying at checkout without having to pull out an iPhone is significant. Other surveys have suggested that customers are well aware of the excellent security of Apple Pay on the Apple Watch, so concerns over the security may not be a factor. In some cases, customers have expressed doubt about how to enable the Apple Watch for Apple Pay. Accordingly, this poor showing for Apple Pay probably needs more investigation.

Mr. Golub added some additional perspective in an email.

For some additional context on Apple Pay, note that Apple Pay ranking tied for 7th in the list of Top Likes is encouraging for Apple's mobile payment service, as respondents could only select up to three choices in this question and there were a total of 20 to choose from. 

Moreover, recent surveys from 451 Research's ChangeWave service have shown Apple Pay already having a huge impact on the mobile payment space, and the inclusion of Apple Pay on the Apple Watch further expands this potential.

451 Research

Discussion of Dislikes

The first two dislikes seem to be in conflict. If the iPhone were more independent, it would require considerably more battery power. This may reflect the fact that the average Apple Watch owner, in transition from a traditional watch, isn't well informed about the technical design of the Apple Watch.

Similarly, there are numerous reports on how Apple has under promised and over delivered on the water resistance of the Apple Watch. Perhaps the dislike is really a statement about Apple's lack of a specific marketing affirmation which, in turn, shakes the customer's confidence.

At the bottom of the list, but notable to this editor, is the occasional Touch Screen unresponsiveness. I've seen that on occasion. When first encountered, it seems as if the watch hardware may be failing. In time, however, it's clear that it only happens once in a while. It's more likely that the watch, low powered as it is, is busy attending to something else and cannot respond right away in those moments. In time, with experience and new watchOS releases, this problem should go away.

Details of the Report

The report continued with the observation that this device is a "clear threat to traditional watches."

A striking 85% of Apple Watch owners say they wear their device on a daily basis, and another 11% several times a week.

Before purchasing the Apple Watch, more than two-thirds (69%) say they wore a traditional watch daily (61%) or several times a week (8%). But since buying their Apple Watch, an overwhelming majority of owners who also have a traditional watch say the Apple Watch has replaced it (82%) – a clear sign of the negative impact it is having on the traditional watch market.

Other key findings from the survey include:

• Apple Watch owners were asked how often they use various features and functionalities on their smart watch. Four-in-five (79%) say they use their Apple Watch for Health and Fitness Monitoring on a daily basis. Another 63% say they Send and Receive Text Messages, while 52% Check the Weather daily.

• The survey found Lag Time When Scrolling or Refreshing (29%) is the top problem experienced by owners.

Issues with the Sensor (19%) – the focus of several media reports in the aftermath of the Apple Watch release – ranks second. But when we asked Apple Watch owners about the extent of the sensor problem, just 4% characterize it as a Very Big Problem and 8% say it’s Somewhat of a Problem.

• Fashion or Tech? A total of 61% consider their Apple Watch to be a Technology Device, but just 1% think it’s a Fashion Accessory. At the same time, better than a third (36%) say Equally as Both.


In summary, it appears that Apple has been successful with this first release of the Apple Watch in meeting customer expectations and laying the groundwork for future improvements.