updated 08:45 pm EDT, Fri October 14, 2011
Three studies show iPhone 4S gets more new users
Three separate iPhone 4S launch day studies have shown noticeably more buyers being switchers from the BlackBerry and other platforms. The most detailed, a 195-person study by UBS analyst Maynard Um in New York City, had 75 percent coming from an existing iPhone versus 80 percent a year ago. Of the remaining group, about 10 percent were jumping from a BlackBerry, while five percent each were coming from LG and Samsung phones; four percent were coming from Motorola.
Um didn't say how many of the phones below RIM were using Android or were basic feature phones.
His findings were mostly echoed in others' studies. An examination from Reuters used a small 127-person pool but covered people in most of the launch countries and found a surprising number of defectors. About 28 of the group were quitting from another platform, usually BlackBerry but also Nokia's Symbian.
A considerably larger study of 550 people at numerous Apple stores from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster showed that 73 percent of iPhone 4S buyers were coming to it from an earlier model, down from 77 percent in 2010. He didn't break down which platforms the rest were coming from.
Both UBS and Piper Jaffray broke down the buying habits by storage capacity. In each case, the largest slices of users were opting for the 16GB version, at 42 percent in UBS' study and 49 percent in Piper's. Next up was the 32GB model (39 and 32 percent), while both saw 19 percent picking the 64GB version. Um noted that 64 percent had gone for the 32GB version last year and thus that the 64GB model mostly siphoned off that audience always willing to get the highest-end iPhone regardless of its price.
About 55 percent of iPhone 4S buyers considered Siri the most important reason to upgrade.
BlackBerry users have been more likely to leave for another platform, but the iPhone 4S launch may have been a tipping point. RIM's four-day outage is known to have pushed some to consider switching and made the iPhone 4S as a convenient leaping-off point. A fashion publicist told Reuters that RIM's periodic outages had helped push him to switch.
"I am going into fashion and [the iPhone is] like the official phone of the industry," he said. "Also, I am tired of the Blackberry issues, like stuff going down every six months."
More data provided by UBS showed that two thirds of launch day buyers had a Mac, and half an iPad. In the US, three quarters were still opting for AT&T, while 13.8 percent wanted Verizon and 7.7 percent were on Sprint.