updated 12:05 pm EDT, Fri June 25, 2010
Public locked into upgrade cycle, says analyst
Upgraders formed an overwhelming bulk of the people buying the iPhone 4 on Thursday, claims Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. Of 608 people surveyed by Piper at Apple Stores in San Francisco, Minneapolis and New York, 77 percent said they were upgrading from an earlier model. The figure contrasts with 56 percent in 2009, and 38 percent in 2008.
"Mission accomplished," says Munster, noting that in the space of three years, the company has "built brand loyalty in the phone market that compels users to upgrade to the latest version and wait in line for one to six hours to pick up their iPhone." Launch-day sales are expected to slot somewhere between 1 and 1.5 million units, but the numbers are described as "largely irrelevant," given that Apple has tapped into the "global consumer spending sweet spot" of mobile. The company can look forward to growing the iPhone even further in following years, Munster remarks.
In terms of phones, 6 percent of buyers were switching from a BlackBerry, 3 percent from an Android-based phone, and 2 percent from a Nokia device. Some 54 percent chose a 32GB iPhone, an increase from 43 percent last year. The poll results also indicate however that only 16 percent of people were switching to AT&T from another carrier, a decline from 28 percent in 2009.
Taking advantage of the opportunity, Piper also asked shoppers about the iPad. 28 percent of people said they already owned one. Within the remaining 72 percent without the tablet, 39 percent said they would likely buy one in the next 12 months.