Jul 15, 2014 3:26 PM by CBS NEWS
Apple's still unannounced smartwatch might a bit expensive -- $300 is the latest rumor -- but brand loyalty may make the product hard to keep on the shelves, according to a new report obtained by Fortune.
Apple may be able to sell 30 to 60 million units in the first year, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty's report to investors on Monday. The device -- unofficially known as the iWatch -- could still fail, she said, but she believes those chances are slim.
Rumors over the long-awaited Apple wearable have been circulating in the tech world over the last few months. With rivals like Samsung's Galaxy Gear and Google's Android Wear already on the market, Apple risks playing catch-up. But if brand loyalty is as significant a factor as Huberty predicts -- perhaps that won't be a problem.
Citing data from AlphaWise consumer surveys, Apple's brand loyalty continues to grow and that's what will drive sales of the so-called iWatch, Huberty writes. Ninety percent of consumers who own Apple products continue buying them. Samsung owners show a 77 percent retention rate, while Nokia and LG's product loyalty stand at 58 and 41 percent respectively.
Juniper Research reported last year that the market for wearables could be worth $19 billion by 2018. If the iWatch follows a similar market trajectory as the iPhone, Huberty lists a possible $9 billion annual profit.
This, notes CNET, could push the wearable market to gain even more traction in the next 12 months.
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