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Kuo: Apple Watch is seeing a big sales decline year-over-year in 2023

Gold Apple Watch Edition - now long gone

As part of a larger post about future Apple Watch rumors, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is predicting that shipments of the wearable in 2023 will see a notable decline, year-over-year.

The post published on Tuesday afternoon mostly delves into the next few years of Apple Watch features and designs. However, Kuo drops a notable tidbit about Apple Watch shipment volumes.

Without context, Kuo says that "Apple Watch shipments in 2023 are expected to decline by approximately 15% YoY to 36-38 million units."

It's not clear where Kuo is getting his figures from, nor if he is referring to calendar year 2023 or Apple's fiscal year 2023 which ended on September 30. Apple's Wearables segment contains more than the Apple Watch, but it has been a continuing source of strength overall for the company, buoying products that took a hit in the quarter.

"The Apple Watch is a classic example of a product that succeeded through repositioning," Kuo writes. "However, based on current shipment momentum, it may need to be repositioned again if there's an unfortunate year-over-year decline again in 2024."

Kuo is referring to the heavy fashion-first mantra that the company had at the Apple Watch launch. At that launch, it invited fashion mavens to attend the presentation, and seeded Apple Watch units to celebrities before the shipment of the device.

While Apple did briefly discuss the health features of the watch at launch, the messaging changed fairly rapidly. The following year, and in every year since, Apple focused heavily on fitness for everyone.

Notably, the original gold Apple Watch that sold for $17,000 is no longer eligible for service, and is classified as "vintage" now. It was cut off from new watchOS support in watchOS 4.