June 25, 2015 Last Updated 3:05 pm

Marketing agency MBLM conducts study on the views of Apple Watch owners – from box opening to views after 30 days

Study of small group of users found that after using Apple Watch for 30 days the thrill began to dissipate and the watch started to feel like weak extension of their iPhone

The marketing and brand agency MBLM today released the results of a study they conducted of consumers who are Apple Watch owners and finds a fair amount of customer dissatisfaction. The big caveat here is that the study sample size was very small, only 11 respondents participated in MBLM’s daily diary.

AW-MBLM-screenThe study, An Entirely New Kind of Intimacy, was conducted like a focus group, with the agency video recording reactions to the smartwatch and their impressions over time.

Despite the small number of participants, it is good to see new research on the product and wish we saw far more research on the subject of digital editions. The best study so far conducted is four years old and found some things that many of the older digital newsstands did not want to see: namely that few readers like reading magazines on their desktop (those damn Flash flipbooks) and that, at the time, tablet ownership was holding back growth. It also found, some believed, that readers wanted their digital editions to look like their print editions. But I’ve always disputed this finding as the survey asked readers unfamiliar with native digital editions (ask a consumer in the late nineteenth century what they wanted and they would have said a faster horse, not a car with air conditioning and an 8-track tape player).

I think MBLM presentation of their findings may be the real story here, though. I like the way they have designed and presented their findings, and could see this being replicated by digital teams at news organizations (I wonder how my friend Konstantinos Antonopoulos would have handled this project?).

So read the press release below, but spend some time at the website where the real goodies are:

NEW YORK, NY — June 25, 2015MBLM, the Brand Intimacy Agency focused on strategy, design, creative and technology, has released the second set of findings from its four-part Ethnography Study focused on users of Apple Watch. A key finding within the one-month study, which follows MBLM’s weeklong study, finds that millennials (18 to 34 years old) are dissatisfied with the watch. They claim that after using the watch for 30 days, the thrill of the watch has dissipated for them and the watch has started to feel like a weak extension of their iPhone.

AW-MBLM-2Furthermore, millennials in the study also report a curious guilt over owning, wearing and using the watch. Some find the watch frivolous, unessential and an ostentatious symbol of wealth. Mario Natarelli, Managing Partner at MBLM, explains why millennials are the only group in the study to have these feelings, “Millennials are the most intimate with their phones as their primary device. They have high expectations and low patience with technology, and many missed the issues related to the earliest iPhones. Their friends are not yet using the watch and apps are limited which impacts social interaction, an important factor for millennials.”

Here are a few other insights from this report, which can be found on MBLM’s website:

  • The Watch Gets Personal: Respondents are now personalizing and customizing their Apple Watches, from the face to the text replies. One person flipped the settings and named it. Many of the respondents talk to their or back at their watches. “I can’t stand up now,” “Stop telling me that,” etc.
  • More Utility, Less Fashion: For some the watch not only replaces the phone, but also is an improvement. It offers practical solutions that tangibly help people. “It’s easier to use my watch than my phone at work. I’m on a showroom, so it’s less distracting, but keeps me connected.”
  • The Watch is Dead. Long Live the Watch: Apple Watch has replaced their users’ timepieces. People feel the more time they put into their watch, the more they get out of it.

The study conducted extensive interviews with 11 people, ages 13 to 65 years, and had respondents participate in a diary, where they answered a series of questions and were also filmed using their watches and discussing the experiences. The findings comprise 850 open-ended responses and 40 hours of video footage. In this one of a kind ongoing study, MBLM will continue to track the same group’s use of the watch and release findings after 6 months and one year.

Natarelli adds, “The Apple Watch is a very subtle and profound new device and is breaking new ground in the interplay between people, brands and technology. As an agency that focuses on brand intimacy, we think this study is a unique opportunity to understand how bonds (or a lack of them) are forming. The ethnographic approach allows us to go in-depth and track progress over a extended period of time to uncover nuanced and evolving insights.”

Source: MBLM

  • Ri Waterman 3 years ago

    you report on a survey that has 11 participants.

    “The big caveat here is that the study sample size was very small, only 11 respondents participated in MBLM’s daily diary.”

    I think the big story here is why would any company release results of such a lame survey with only 11 participants??? Who is behind this obvious piece of crap trying to discredit the Apple Walch. If nothing else, at least wait until Apple reports its quarterly results in late July. Tim Cook has already said that they will not be releasing Apple Watch numbers for competitive reasons. I understand that but perhaps he will say something about says and reception to the watch. How/s Goog’e watch doing? Any surveys on that – or can’t they find 11 people to participate in that survey?

    • D.B. Hebbard 3 years ago

      The survey is designed a focus group, and needs to be seen as such. Whether it actually reflects consumer opinion overall I don’t know.

      I reported on the MBLM survey because it is the first of its kind publicly released, and if you go to the site and view the videos you might find it of interest. (Or maybe not)