​Why businesses shouldn’t rush to develop an Apple Watch App

“Companies need to evaluate their goals for releasing an Apple Watch app.”

Support for Apple Watch has been met with limited adoption while the benefits afforded to those supporting Apple Watch remain unclear.

According to recent Strategy Analytics findings, even Health & Fitness developers - a category heavily promoted by Apple - are reticent to extend support for Apple Watch across their entire portfolio of apps.

Companies like Runtastic, MapMyFitness and Nike, despite arriving on the platform early, have not extended Apple Watch support to more than 25 percent of their portfolio.

On the other hand, games, the most popular category on iPhone, has seen less than three percent support among the 200 most popular games.

When Apple Watch launched in April there was significant enthusiasm and competitive pressure to support the platform without any insight into how support would impact key performance indicators.

As such, at launch nine out of the top ten airlines had an Apple Watch App.

However, the data does not support the notion that Apple Watch is a platform that today offers an opportunity to grow revenue, increase audience size or achieve organic growth.

This is not necessarily a long-term indictment of wearables or Apple Watch but instead a note of caution to companies debating the need for short-term support.

The prospects remain bright with the recent release of watchOS 2 and the fast approaching holiday season which is expected to help Apple Watch – according to Strategy Analytics - ship more than 15M this year.

But Joshua Martin, Chief Apps Evangelist at Strategy Analytics urges honest evaluation before diving in.

“Companies need to evaluate their goals for releasing an Apple Watch app,” he explains. “Is it to be first to market, to drive revenue, to increase stickiness or to achieve organic growth?

“Releasing an app requires regular updates, maintenance and improvement further complicating the ROI an Apple Watch app offers.

“The data shows that as of today there is little competitive pressure to rush in but we will continue to monitor the market through our AppTRAX database, qualitative research and a new Apple Watch support dashboard to alert companies to the tipping point when support does become mandatory.”