Apple Watch might have had a rough start to the year, according to one analyst.
Sales for the smartwatch during Apple’s second fiscal quarter were down 40% compared to the company’s fiscal first quarter ended December 26, ITG Investment Research senior analyst Matthew Goodman wrote to investors on Thursday. He added that if Apple had the same trouble globally as it did in the U.S., the company sold 3.1 million units worldwide during the period.
Apple (AAPL), which is expected to announce its second fiscal quarter results on Tuesday, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Apple launched its Apple Watch last year to much fanfare. The device allows users to run apps and, of course, tell time. However, Apple has kept its Watch sales quiet, claiming that providing sales numbers could give competitors an advantage. Since then, analysts and market researchers have offered educated guesses on how many units Apple has sold by analyzing its supply chain, retail availability, and other factors. It’s unknown, though, who might be right.
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Regardless, Apple Watch appears to be performing better than most of its competitors. In January, Juniper Research released a study that claimed Apple Watch secured 52% smartwatch market share in 2015, topping several rivals, including Samsung. Although sales were reportedly down considerably over the first three months of the year, that might make sense considering Apple’s fiscal first quarter includes the busy holiday shopping season.
For its part, Apple has remained bullish on Apple Watch, saying that there is strong demand for the smartwatch. The tech giant, during its “Let Us Loop You In” press event in March, touted the Apple Watch and announced a price drop for its entry-level Apple Watch Sport by $50. Apple also launched new wristbands for the device.
According to Goodman, whose company uses proprietary data to track Apple Watch sales, the price cut was beneficial for Apple. In the first week following the price cut, U.S. sales doubled compared to the previous week, he cited in his note. However, Goodman added that sales declined to their earlier levels just a week later.
Still, handicapping Apple Watch sales can be difficult business. While Goodman believes that Apple Watch sales were “in the high-four-millions” in Apple’s first fiscal quarter, other analysts have pegged the company’s sales anywhere from 10.5 million to 3.1 million. In January, the average analyst estimate put Apple Watch sales at 5.8 million units during the three-month period ended December 26, putting Goodman behind the pack. Actual unit sales, however, are unknown.
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Looking ahead, Goodman is similarly bearish on the Apple Watch over the short term, saying that he doesn’t believe “new strap options will kick start sales.” He does, however, believe that over time, as the market matures and more consumers see value in a smartwatch, Apple will be well-positioned to capitalize.
“Longer term we are more constructive as we think use cases and popularity for the Watch will grow meaningfully,” Goodman wrote to investors.
Expect to hear more about Apple Watch next week when Apple announces its earnings and holds its call.