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Consumers knew the Apple Watch wasn’t going to be cheap, and the company’s recently announced pricing met—and in some cases, exceeded—expectations. While the entry-level Apple Watch Sport is the most approachable—though at a still-hefty-for-many range of $349 to $399—prices get gradually more eye-popping from there, with the steel Apple Watch spanning a wide price range from $549 to $1,099, depending on how much data one needs. The real kicker, though, comes with the Apple Watch Edition, which starts at $10,000.
Who’s going to buy the expensive version? While there’s no doubt that an influx of tech-savvy early adopters will ensue as always, affluents—a group with extra cash to spend—could also be a prime target.
Affluents have proven to be bigger tech adopters already. According to Q2 2014 research by GlobalWebIndex, internet users worldwide who fell in the top income quartile were the most interested in wearable devices, at 71% of respondents, vs. an overall average of 64%.
A look at advanced device ownership among income brackets provides further support for wearables’ potential among affluents. For one, Q4 2014 research by The NPD Group/Connected Intelligence found that the average annual household income for mobile-connected tablet owners skewed high, at $105,000, while those with Wi-Fi-only versions, which don’t require a monthly data plan, had an average annual household income of $88,000.
A broader look at tablet ownership by comScore MobiLens also showed that affluents accounted for the largest share of users, with those with an income over $100,000 representing more than one-third of the tablet audience. Affluents led for smartphone usage as well, accounting for 32.0% of the user base.
There’s been some talk about whether wearables could make an impression on the mobile payment landscape, another area where affluents overindex—albeit at a lower rate. According to September 2014 research by Phoenix Marketing International, 26% of smartphone-owning US affluents—those with a household income of $125,000-plus or investable assets of $250,000-plus—had a mobile payment app, vs. 24% of smartphone owners overall. Affluents were also more likely to use such apps, at 15%, vs. 13% on average.
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