Pebble went back to crowdfunding site Kickstarter to help fund the Pebble Time, its second major hardware iteration. The company likely could’ve gone with a more traditional product launch, with a brief pre-order window or direct to market availability, but the campaign did break Kickstarter’s all-time records, netting over $20 million ($20,338,986 to be exact) from 78,741 backers, which is newsworthy over and above the actual product it’s selling.
In the end, though Pebble Time will have to stand on its own two feet post-campaign as a product, and thanks to Pebble’s use of Kickstarter, we have a unique opportunity to pin down exactly how the launch campaign fared in terms of hard pre-order numbers.
As mentioned, 78,741 backers supported the project, but that doesn’t translate to pre-order totals directly, thanks to the variation in reward tiers. Here’s exactly how many Pebble Time devices (including both Time and Time Steel) Pebble moved during the campaign, taking into account the different rewards:
Here’s how many of those were the Pebble Time:
And Pebble Time Steel:
Pebble has to deliver 48,690 Pebble Time watches by May of this year to hit its estimated shipping goals for the inaugural batch based on stated backer rewards, and 29,997 Pebble Time Steel devices for the initial July shipment group of that more expensive hardware option.
By comparison, the original Pebble campaign resulted in 85,419 pre-orders (not counting prototype hardware for a special developer tier, which adds 100 more to the total) across all reward tiers. The original campaign, then resulted in only 11.6 percent fewer total hardware orders, despite earning 65.8 percent less money.
The starting price point for the new Pebble Time was higher, and the average selling price of the gadget was much higher overall thanks to the availability of Pebble Time Steel as an option during the same campaign. But in the end, Pebble Time’s campaign indicates that demand for actual devices may not have leapt ahead between now and the Pebble’s original introduction by all that much (though Pebble had 6 more days during its campaign than Pebble Time during which to draw backers).
Given that the Apple Watch event occurred during Pebble Time’s campaign and led to a big increase in pledge volume, it’s hard to say what this might mean for Pebble Time hardware sales post-campaign. It is apparent, however, that Apple’s device launch is still the one to watch for those looking for a clearer sign that consumer appetite for wearable tech has significantly increased over the past few years.