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Why The Apple Watch Is Heavily Marketed To Women

Why The Apple Watch Is Heavily Marketed To Women Featured Articles

Smartwatch makers may have a lot more to thank Apple for than they realize. It will be Apple alone whose efforts will make smartwatches a successful consumer product. While the smartwatch market apparently sold 6.8 million units in 2014 (an apparent 82% increase over 2013 according to, the industry is still just learning to walk and has an extremely limited adoption rate among mainstream consumers. Thanks to a lot of good advice and some great hires, Apple understands that the Apple Watch (hands-on here) is a tech device which mainstream consumers primarily conceive as a fashion item because it is something they wear. Apple also knows that women are going to be an extremely important consumer of the Apple Watch and marketing to them will be a key part of the Apple Watch’s first-year success.

Why The Apple Watch Is Heavily Marketed To Women Featured Articles

Apple Watch ad spread in Vogue March 2015

Why The Apple Watch Is Heavily Marketed To Women Featured Articles

Animated Apple Watch ad in digital copy of Vogue March 2015

Even though the Apple Watch has been covered by mainstream media, its nuts-and-bolts (especially pre-launch) have been mostly covered by the tech industry, who are keenly interested in what it will do and how much it will cost. One area of discussion that they usually miss is how important mainstream consumers will be for the success of the Apple Watch.

A simple analysis of Apple’s marketing efforts shows a clever and very wise multi-front approach to spreading news and desire for the Apple Watch. While the Apple Watch debut in September 2014 (and subsequent announcements) have been designed to get the gadget and tech community speculating about the mid-2015 Apple Watch release, Apple has, at the same time, been focusing considerable elements on the fashion industry. It is also important to note that the luxury watch industry has been focusing on marketing toward the fashion industry for almost a decade now, and for the last two years, that focus has been heavily on women. The luxury watch industry hopes that for 2015 and beyond, women, as well as men, will be major growth areas of luxury watch consumption. It is interesting that both Apple (the luxury smartwatch maker) and the traditional high-end watch industry are focusing on women almost at the same time.

Why The Apple Watch Is Heavily Marketed To Women Featured Articles

The Apple Watch Edition in 18k gold on the wrist of Liu Wen, on the November 2014 issue of Vogue China

Why The Apple Watch Is Heavily Marketed To Women Featured Articles

With the iPhone, Apple learned that mainstream consumers are extremely interested in the design of their tech products, as well as a reliable user experience. The sheer volume of functionality as well as the competitive advantage of one product over another is slightly less important. Apple has already done an excellent job of creating desire for the brand overall, so its goal with the Apple Watch is to gently instill the notion that wearing an Apple Watch is fashionably sound.

To do this, Apple has been engaging with what it feels are the world’s top fashion resources. Last November (2014), the Apple Watch Edition in 18k gold appeared on the wrist of Liu Wen on the Chinese version of Vogue Magazine. The Apple Watch Sport is seen on the wrist of Candice Swanepoel on the March cover of Self magazine.

Why The Apple Watch Is Heavily Marketed To Women Featured Articles

Why The Apple Watch Is Heavily Marketed To Women Featured Articles

The latest news in this regard, as has reported it here, is that the Apple Watch is also appearing in the March 2015 issue of Vogue magazine as a more traditional advertisement. Now, Apple is taking the expected move of engaging in a more traditional marketing campaign to push the idea of the Apple Watch to the mainstream female consumer – a demographic who is known to seek “social and fashion acceptance” from fashion authorities such as Vogue. The placement of the advertisement in the March 2015 US version of Vogue should also be a clear sign that the Apple Watch will be available for sale soon. Several sources believe that the Apple Watch will begin to ship and be available for purchase in April 2015.

Female consumer acceptance of the Apple Watch is extremely important for the smartwatch industry who, until now, has mostly male buyers. Smartwatch companies have, for the most part, failed to convince women that smartwatches are useful, sexy, trendy, and aspirational. If anyone can remove the “geek element” from a connected wearable communications device, it is Apple, and they know it needs to be done right off-the-bat if the Apple Watch is going to be perceived as an object of desire for women.

Why The Apple Watch Is Heavily Marketed To Women Featured Articles

Why The Apple Watch Is Heavily Marketed To Women Featured Articles

The March 2015 Vogue advertisement for the Apple Watch covers 12 pages in the print version as well as an Apple Watch animation in the digital version. Apple includes images of each version of the Apple Watch (aluminum, steel, and gold) in the Vogue ad, showing that they feel each model is a suitable match for today’s fashionable woman. Images of the Apple Watch are smaller on the page, which helps consumers looking at the ads visually understand what the watch will look like on their wrists. The ad also makes it clear that the Apple Watch will have different types of straps and styles. This is because it is safe to assume a large percentage of the demographic seeing the ads in Vogue may be familiar with the Apple Watch but not aware of all the different Apple Watch versions.

Apple is wasting no time before the launch of the Apple Watch ensuring that mainstream consumers are fully prepared and excited for the Apple Watch. What is amazing is that Apple doesn’t even need to tell everyone what the Apple Watch does. In many ways, the Apple Watch launch is similar to that of the iPad; Apple released a product without an established market yet. Apple never told people what they needed an iPad for, but merely demonstrated what it looked like and what using it might be like (and look like). People had complained at the time that the world didn’t need a “really big iPhone.”

Why The Apple Watch Is Heavily Marketed To Women Featured Articles

The Apple Watch made its U.S. magazine cover debut earlier this month in the March issue of Self

Likewise, today, many tech pundits are complaining that smartwatches are an answer to a question no one was asking. I disagree. I feel that consumers have been wanting to wear technology and make technology a more personal part of their daily routines. Mobile phones have become indispensable for most people, but they still act like extra appendages that people don’t know what to do with. Simply observe a crowd of people, and notice how many are awkwardly walking around with their phones in their hands versus in a pocket or bag. Communication technology is meant to be accessible all the time and reserved for occasional use. As we use connected devices for more and more purposes, the notion that they are supposed to sit waiting hidden away from view will becoming increasingly archaic. It’s only logical that devices become something you wear – even if we need to take baby steps to get there.

Apple isn’t going to win the smartwatch fight because the Apple Watch is capable of doing things its competitors can’t do – even when it is clear that the Apple Watch does something unique or better than the rest. Apple is going to win the smartwatch fight by producing a product that busy, image-conscious, and of-average-technical-education consumers are going to want and feel is approachable.

Why The Apple Watch Is Heavily Marketed To Women Featured Articles

A close look at Apple’s larger marketing efforts surrounding the Apple Watch reveals a rather brilliant plan when the various arms of its approach are put together. Apple has connected the Apple Watch with the traditional world of horology to garner acceptance among watch lovers. Apple has obviously secured favor with the tech and electronics industry by mere virtue of being a new Apple product, and Apple has focused directly on the world of fashion to help people realize it is a product that does not clash with (but rather is meant to enhance) a modern lifestyle.

It doesn’t matter whether you are totally stoked about the Apple Watch or don’t want one at all, you have to admit Apple has done a clever job with a product segment (smartwatches) which has a lot of potential, but not a lot of current pizzazz. Apple knows that male consumers are waiting for answers to the question “Will the Apple Watch work well, and what does it do for me?” With the impending Apple Watch launch, that will all be answered in due course, but the more interesting questions they are attempting to answer are for female consumers, who should ideally represent 50% of Apple Watch buyers. Why The Apple Watch Is Heavily Marketed To Women Featured Articles

The luxury and fashion watch industry has for a long time known that the majority of female consumers are primarily interested in what something looks like on them, what wearing a brand says about them, and how a brand or product fits into their current or idealized lifestyle. Apple is the only smartwatch maker that I am aware of who is seriously approaching the needs of female consumers. This represents a unique cultural shift in-house at Apple, who is still at its core a technology company – and best at producing functional products. The effort required to create fashion advertising for a technology company should not be downplayed. We will see how well Apple Watch competitors also approach this market.

What we will determine next is how Apple optimizes its Apple Watch retail experience both at Apple Stores and at third-party retailers so that both male and female consumers of various types find the Apple Watch purchasing experience both simple and enjoyable. The next few months will very important to Apple, who is fighting battles to make the smartwatch something everybody wants. Their victories will no doubt have a serious impact for the smartwatch industry as a whole.

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  • marbstiu

    ” OH SHITE!”  – Swatch Group

  • 5803822

    Some really nice pics – but do we have any female bloggers on ABTW ?

  • 5803822 Technically yes, but we are actively looking for more.

  • More reasons Apple will make a load of money selling them. And the same reasons, after they become overly common, that those who use watches to say something individual about themselves will avoid wearing an Apple Watch. Apple is smart, no two ways about it. But while this will be a blood letting for under $500 quartz, I continue to think that the over $1000 mechanical market won’t feel the same pain. Electronics are great, but when you want a mechanical toy, something all electronic doesn’t satisfy that jones.

  • nickyb66

    Not a fan of smart watches at all, especially the Apple watch. The watch has ‘no personality’, does not evoke satisfaction the same way as a mechanical watch does etc etc. Sure its advanced, does loads of things, apart from ‘just’ telling the time but do most people need these extra functions all the time?

    I mean most have a smartphone, maybe a tablet, PC, notebook, etc etc. And the one thing that bugs me is the crap battery life of the Apple Watch, even the new Pebble Watch claims to last a week, just something else to make sure its charged at night.

    My Sub, no, it never needs charging.

    Thanks for the review Ariel.

  • Ulysses31

    It seems patronising that most watch companies, soon to include Apple, continue to think that all that is necessary to market something to women is to make it blingy.  Do male consumers care too much about details such as battery life and actual utility to be bothered with?  Apple is a household name in technology and will sell mainly because of that, and the fact the various companies who have produced arguably more innovative smart-watches already are relative unknowns.  I expect these to fly off the shelves initially, mostly worn purely as a fashion item with the majority of its features left unused, other than notifications and such.

  • Evitzee

    VW heavily oriented it’s reincarnated Beetle to women (even having a little place on the dash to put your flower).  It became known as a ‘chick car’ and males, and the general market didn’t accept it as serious.  If Apple wants to go down this road and make the Apple Watch ‘THE’ accessory for a woman to have they will have problems.  They are in uncharted territory here and out of their depth.  Technology is male focused and for good reason, men are more interested in how things work, they are hard wired that way.  Everytime Ariel writes about the Apple Watch he seems to be trying to explain why this thing can’t miss and how dangerous it will be to the Swiss watch industry, which is odd considering ABTW is focused on the mechanical watch.  It’s almost as if Adams wants Apple to damage the mechanical watch sector.  Odd.

  • The single-chromosome market might be a great launch pad for the apple watch, but I think that could also be a pretty slippery slope. If it gains a real foothold with female consumers, it’ll be typecast quickly and forever, to be shunned by the hairy wristed. Honestly, it makes sense to go this route, as the form factor of the Apple watch is arguably feminine. So, the Apple watch could make an interesting play where they root the product as it is today with the ladies, and then in a year or 2 release an updated version with harder lines, lazerz, and lulz, and then kick the marketing machine into manly overdrive. Banner ads on and
    Not that Apple marketing needs my help. Having the same email appear on your computer, phone, and watch all at the same time is really going to change the world, amirite?

  • Jimxxx

    Eve, afterall was the first the pick the Apple before giving it to Adam…

  • Evitzee That is an interesting take on my thoughts on the Apple Watch. I am a fan of technology and I am a fan of mainstream consumers being aware of watches so I am a fan of anyone offering a very solid entrant to that market. I believe it is going to be important so I am writing realistically about it. That doesn’t change my love for mechanical watches – which will not go away. Ignoring smartwatches will not help mechanical watches nor will ignoring the struggle mechanical watches will have. In most instances when I write about smartwatches I offer some “advice” to the traditional watch industry in regard to how I feel that might adapt or evolve to better serve the world that may come. I love mechanical watches but that doesn’t mean I feel the watch industry itself is a community or business that is not without major faults which could threaten its near-term future. I’m being more a realistic and offering tough love to an old and sometimes backwards traditional industry that I nevertheless love.

  • aamaier

    Great article Ariel, it made me more interested in watching how this going to play out.

  • DrSantiL

    aBlogtoWatch #WearableTech #wearables

  • NWP

    I have not yet met a woman who wouldn’t prefer a modern “battery” watch over those old fashioned mechanical watches.

  • techangelist

    the ‘gold’ option in the announcement last year made it obvious apple was focussing on making it success with women first and men second. The male geek demographic is going to get it anyways without much trying… apple make new gadget… me must try. The ‘timex’ group is next in line to attack. The ‘Breitling’ demographic is too small for apple’s ambitions and an almost impossible group to convert. Ultimately this is not about telling the time. It is about communication and health. Lets see if it delivers.

  • SantiagoT

    Back in September a very smart person (and extremely handsome too) said, when talking about this matter: 
    how long will we have to wait until we see Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and other personalities of paramount importance in our modern world showing up at a cultural event of their liking wearing, say, the  limited edition Louis Vuitton pink gold, 25 diamonds with baguette cut bezel iWatch?

    As it has already been said, making this product a feminine product will make men look away, which is not a good thing. Or they will buy the cheap version which is not a good thing because then it would be competing with the various bands already in the market. 

    There’s another bit of the market that is going to be annoyed if this is the trend, which is hard-core Apple fans, those who love Apple for their technology and the ability to break new grounds. If they start seeing what for them is the substitute of traditional horology or at any rate another über cool product from Apple being treated as an beauty accessory they are not going to like it, which is not a good thing.

    Having said this, Apple is going to sell this product by the tens of thousands I’m sure when it comes out. We will see i the following years.

  • techangelist

    “Tens of thousands”? You are breaking Apples heart. “20 million” is the number Apple has geared up for.

  • SantiagoT

    techangelist In a year? That’s pretty amazing. And they will surely but…

    Look what I just saw in Twitter from my favorite fashion publicist ever. It’s part of the problem we were talking about, and one of the reasons Rolex will see how instead of a gold model women will rather have a gold watch with a satin band. 

    Not only it will be cool, the in thing (or it thing, whatever). It will also be “cute”. No Rolex is “cute”. No Rolex will “OMG look what I just saw on my wrist-Facebook!!”

  • spiceballs

    Apple certainly know their market but unless this can charge without plugging in (?) this may pop their longevity bubble.  Dangerous ground?

  • techangelist

    the rolex demographic would be pointless for apple to pursue for the reasons you pointed out. I like a good watch, but substantively an expensive watch is about making a statement about what you value or what you can afford or the kind of person you want to project. It feels good wearing one even if no one else notices. But more importantly its not about the time, which is its function. So there is as much superficiality with a
    Personally i would go with the withing watch..i think

  • AK74

    I want a smart Android bracelet for my Omega diver. I want this bracelet do all the smart things these watches do except for showing time. Fitness stuff is the most important, heart rate monitor, accelerometers etc,

  • jkim010100

    Evitzee I disagree that its uncharted or technology is male focused. Iphone is very much neutral if not female leaning in design and function. Websites take a design heavy and esthetics first approach which leans to attractive before function. Fashion. Appliances. Clothing. 
    I think the question should be is Apple watch going to be female first like a Mini Cooper. Then become more manly as designs progress.
    We are still in Version 1 of Apple Watch, Version 3 of Android, Version 3 of pebble and Beta of everything else. And even at 300-400 per watch, we are looking at people buying 2-4 watches over the next 4 years. Still cheaper than a Rolex or even a Hermes Fashion watch. 
    I dont think the Swiss should be scared, yet. But i do think they are going to lose a generation or 2 that go smartwatch. A Rolex has gravitas and history so i think will do fine, but Tag, Breitling, Ball, etc etc mid tear brands will lose a lot. Those are the ones that should come out with a Manly Smartwatch. For the crowd they should be attacking, young, Male, executive, athletic, climbers.

  • spiceballs

    On a related issue, I saw a report that Apple are getting into the battery car industry.  This suggests to me that Apple are aware of current power limitations and looking to improve.  This has got to be good for all?

  • jkim010100

    MarkCarson i think you should be worried for the mid tear guys. I still think they are going to hurt as much as the 500 quartz. Maybe more. A 500 Quartz will run 5 year on a battery. Looks like a mechanical watch and even has things like Satellite, solar charging, precision time keeping, shock resistant and looks nice. But a daily device which is what a smart watch will become needs to be functional. I have had a ASUS android watch for 3 months now. Damn its functional. Its the second screen that everyone tries to create in the home TV market. It doesn’t replace the Smartphone but extends its usability. 
    Example. Driving a car, email comes in, watch vibrates to let me know, i twist my wrist for a quick peak and ignore or swipe away. I can then decide to look at my phone or now. Same for calls, texts.
    Example, i use a phone connected to Car Audio or headphones for music, podcasts or audiobooks. I can use my watch to Pause, skip, raise/lower volume and start a new track.
    Just saying that the future is connected. the watch is a part of this.

  • jkim010100 For some activities a smartwatch makes sense. I hope you are not reading texts while driving (on any device). In the same way that a fitness tracker is your best bet while exercising, a smartwatch that looks like the current crop might not be best for the Oscars (that JLC Reverso is still a good choice for that). Most of us have multiple watches and wear what makes sense for what we plan to do at that time and day. I don’t expect that to change for us watch geeks. Back when my first gen Tissot T-Touch was working, it provided more functionality than my other watches but still I did not wear it every day. Great for travel, but overkill for the office. It’s all in the context baby!

  • 5803822

    Strange hoe anything “APPLE” produces a massive blog reaction…….. on such  a  pro “mechanical” site — you’d expect a distainful silence.

  • DG Cayse

    techangelist Its all about the apple “fanboy” demo.
    Nothing else.

  • DG Cayse

    aBlogtoWatch 5803822 “Hubba-Hubba.”
    Oh yeah…pardon me…I’m married.

  • egznyc

    Really great article.  Shows a great deal of insight and perception.  And I don’t mean just on Apple’s part, although that is certainly true, too.  I thought Ariel also had a great response to the question raised regarding whether this goes against the grain for someone who purports to love mechanical wristwatches.  There is plenty of room for an appreciation of both mechanical and smart watches.  Just as I would hate to be limited to a single mechanical watch option, why should I be limited to only mechanical options?  

    I certainly find mechanical watches to be more interesting and enjoyable in general, compared with a soulless smart watch.  But I can see occasions where it might be nice to have (not driving my car, however!).  Getting back to the point of the article (or one of its main points), I found myself thinking, wow, this is totally true: my wife (who does not feel the need to be at the cutting edge of fashion) has made it clear to me that she wants wants WANTS an Apple Watch.  Frankly, in her case I think it’s because she really does enjoy technology toys.

  • SantiagoT From what I can see, Apple is trying to strike a careful balance.  For every stereotypically feminine model (like the 38mm rose gold watch leading the story), there’s one that’s unisex or stereotypically masculine (the metal link bracelets in particular).

    I think we’ll see ads in a wide array of places, and that they’ll accommodate all genders.  It’s just that traditional mechanical watchmakers tend to design for and market to specific genders very heavily — Apple doesn’t feel compelled to do that.  And frankly, watches (including smartwatches) are fashion, no matter the gender… if we can’t accept that, we’re kidding ourselves!

    Also: Apple reportedly has production of 5-6 million queued up for the launch quarter (according to the Wall Street Journal).  It’ll likely sell tens of thousands of watches (if not more) on the first day alone.

  • nickyb66 Careful about saying it has “no personality” — I think that comes more from familiarity with mechanical watches than some innate quality that gears and dials bring versus processors and displays.

    To me, the Apple Watch is brimming with personality, but a lot of it is in the software — how it flows, how you customize it and so on.  Combine that with a wide range of bodies and bands (even before counting aftermarket options) and there’s a real chance that you’ll never see the same watch twice, even when there are millions of owners.

    And for functionality, it’s not necessarily a question of need so much as want.  Do I need to reply to a text message from my wrist when I don’t want to get my phone out of my pocket?  No.  Do I want to do that?  Absolutely.  It’s the same deal with checking for important email, getting directions without looking like a tourist or controlling music when I’m running.  If I can combine a whole lot of useful things into a device that also looks good on my wrist, it’s a solid proposition… even with the battery nuisances.

  • nickyb66

    jonfingas nickyb66 The Apple Watch has lots of functionality, as you said checking email, looking for directions etc, sure this is functionality, but in my mind at least this is not personality.

    To me personality is a timepiece that is hand made by craftsman and women that have learnt there art over many years, using similar processes from many many years ago. To me personality is a timepiece that is unique in almost every mechanical timepiece, devations, adjustments and of course replacement parts and lubricants, having your old friend serviced every 5 years or so and can’t waiting to get the timepiece back from the service centre. Also the history and the fact that many timepieces, such as my collect of Rolex and PP timepieces have not changed design in many years, just refining an already excellent design such as the Rolex Submariner. Having something ‘living’ on your wrist feels me with satisfaction that I’m afraid no printed circuit board and ever do and certainlyI feel no buzz in downloading the latest firmware like I do winding my PP every morning.

  • nickyb66 jonfingas True, it’s hard to parallel that experience of things moving on your wrist.  I just think that we shouldn’t get so enraptured with mechanical watches that we forget to see the beauty (real or potential) in a smartwatch.  Especially for a crowd that may blanch at dropping four digits or more on wristwear.

    To abuse car analogies: a classic sports car is often gorgeous and full of quirky charm, but there’s something to be said for a hypermodern vehicle like a Tesla Model S, where half the beauty is in how well it works.  If I can have something that looks good *and* makes my life demonstrably easier?  There’s something special to that.

  • bigsam2035


  • bigsam2035

    I wonder why the Telsa all electric car sells so well and retains it resale value despite all those car lovers out there

    I spend half of the time tinkering with one car or the other but still eagerly awaiting an affordable Telsa. Things (technology) happens. The only thing holding back smart watches is power reserve. Waiting for the figures on the Apple watch.

  • ScubaPro

    Where do these cover models keep their phone? I don’t see it anywhere. They have to have the phone for the Apple Watch to work its magic, yes?

  • Adiel_G

    abdophoto with expensive “feminine” colour options? Also I don’t know if the square shape helps which is often associated with masculinity.

  • Pavan_Belagatti

    That’s a good read. Coming to the discussion, Yes, I have seen even Apple itself promoting it more to the female gender and according to stats there are more female fans for this product. Very interesting article though. Would love to share it on Affimity Apple watch social channel.