Bandistas & Accessories

Wristly Wristware Insider’s Report #44

March 17, 2016

This week’s report highlights the growing importance of the accessories market for Apple Watch. Late last year, in a previous Wristly Insights report, we had unveiled three distinct “personas” when it came to Apple Watch bands, leading us to coin the term “bandistas” to describe those who owned at least 3 and on average 5+ bands for their Watch. For this survey, we wanted to confirm and further advance this idea.

On Monday, Apple is hosting a launch event at their HQ. In addition to rumours of a series of new products, including a smaller iPhone and a new iPad Pro, several leaks have surfaced suggesting new bands for Apple Watch. These band rumours include new colors and possibly a new luxury manufacturer partnership along the lines of the Apple/Hermes collaboration unveiled last September. From our perspective, we would rather bet on seeing the introduction of the first “smart” band, adding depth of value and functionality to the Watch, in line with the recently announced Kardia by AliveCor EKG smartband for Apple Watch.

Significant increase in band ownership

To contrast this week’s findings, the average number of bands per user according to our research increased from 2.2 bands per user to more than 2.6 bands per user in just about 3 months. Additionally, the number of people reporting only owning one band declined sharply from 36% to 26%. We can still roughly aggregate Apple Watch owners into three groups: 1-band only, 2-bands and 3 or more bands, aka our “bandistas”, and we asked each cohort specific follow-up questions about their status.

One band only, but not forever for the majority

Just under 50% of the respondents in this group express no intent of acquiring a new band for their Apple Watch. We can therefore determine that in due course less than 15% of all owners would not purchase an additional band — in other words, a very large 85% of the market is a candidate for after sale purchases of additional bands.

Let’s turn next to those who have stated owning two bands. We’ll find out why they bought the second one and why they haven’t yet bought a third one yet.

Dress it up

One of the hypothesis we made last year was that some people had bought a second band to simply evaluate the revolutionary simple band swapping mechanism. Well, not true at all according to this week’s research! On the other hand, of the choices offered, the majority stated buying their second band with design/fashion consideration in mind and the intent to “dress up” the Watch.

Among the “other” option, we found a wide variety of statements from the panelists, from being initially unable to get their choice when they ordered Apple Watch to wanting a different color as well as other reasons.

“The other band made the watch match my car’s color theme.”

“I started to worry that the leather band that came with the watch was getting dirty so I decided to get a cheap one from Amazon for day to day wear.”

“The sport band was more flexible and comfortable than the classic leather one.”

“Second one was easier to use and made the watch more snug on my wrist.”

Two is enough for most

Exploring the Bandista’s journey

Consistent with those who have acquired two bands, those who have three or more also primarily purchased the first additional band to “dress up” their Apple Watch. Meanwhile, 17% report having acquired an additional band for specific use during workouts. We will explore this further in the upcoming Pulse on Wristware for our Pro subscribers, including segmenting this question by the model of Apple Watch owned as well as first band acquired.

Fashion and Style drive further purchases

When asked about their most recent purchase, the large majority of Bandistas detail an assortment of fashion-related reasons, including choice of color or material.

The Milanese loop is the crowd’s pleaser

Almost a quarter of our panelists report owning the Milanese loop. Given the large proportion of our panel that owns the Apple Watch sport, this is a strong indicator of the level of interest in this specific band. The leather loop also shines with 18% of respondents owning it, with the link bracelet coming in at third place with 11% and ahead of the classic buckle. Of course, the main Sport band is owned by the vast majority of Apple Watch owners (93%) across all models. Our data show that almost 70% of the stainless steel Apple Watch owners have acquired at least one Sport band.

The power of Amazon

When we asked the panel to tell us where they turn to for new bands, for those who do, Amazon unexpectedly reached the top alongside specialty blogs and other sites. We were also surprised that word of mouth was not a factor, nor were social media sites like Instagram or Pinterest.

Pricing is a key factor

Among those who have bought new bands, the sweet spot for price is under $50 for the majority. However, a rather large 16% of the panel also report being willing to spend over $100 for new bands. We will also provide demographic and behavioral analysis to this question in the upcoming Pulse on Wristware as it unveils unique insights into who exactly these most desirable potential shoppers are.

Brand not a “direct” concern (yet?)

While only 2% of our respondents state that brand is a factor in their band purchasing criteria, we have to put this in perspective as more than 70% of those who have bought at least a second band have bought one from Apple and not a third-party vendor.

Other Accessories?

Just over 65% of our panelists have already purchased at least one other accessory for their Apple Watch. Fifty percent bought a stand and 40% acquired a second charger. A further 25% in the aggregate are contemplating acquiring additional accessories. Interesting to note is the very low interest generated by protectors. This may suggest that Apple has done a solid job with the Apple Watch display’s overall resistance to damage.

More about chargers

We asked a series of questions on habits of charging both Apple Watch and iPhone to assess the market potential and consumer desires in this area.

First, and as expected, over 84% of the panel charge their Apple Watch overnight on their bedside table. The balance charge it in the morning before heading out as they also wear their watch to sleep. For 95%, this is also the only place and time they charge their Apple Watch.

We contrast this with iPhone charging habits, where 74% of respondents primarily charge overnight and the rest throughout the day. Our panel also state charging their iPhones multiple times a day versus a single “recharge” session for the Watch.

Finally 85% of our respondents report being interested or very interested in wireless charging capabilities and additionally 42% are very interested in a charger that would accommodate both Apple Watch and iPhone together but only 25% would be willing to pay more than $75 for it.

If you also own a “wristware” device: activity band like Fitbit or smartwatch like Apple Watch, you too can also join the research project at


9 claps
Bernard Desarnauts

Written by

Tech Entrepreneur. 25+ years of Silicon Valley. Co-Founder @

Wristly Research

Exclusive Watch Insights