Paul Carton (ChangeWave Alliance) submits: It’s not often that we say “it rocks” when analyzing a consumer device trend. But the findings of our latest ChangeWave cell phone survey invite extremes to describe the startling impact the Apple (AAPL) iPhone is having on the cellular industry.
Our survey of 3,489 Alliance members – conducted April 4-10 – reveals exceptionally high levels of excitement surround the iPhone’s upcoming release. Nearly one-in-10 respondents (9%) say they are likely to buy the new iPhone once it becomes available in June.
Another 7% say they are likely to buy the iPhone as a gift for someone else.
These are big numbers, especially when you consider the worldwide market for cell phones is around 1 billion and Apple’s goal is to get to 1% of that market in year one – which would mean selling about 10 million phones.
Clearly the current results, while similar to our January survey findings, provide strong evidence that Apple should exceed its iPhone sales goals for 2008 – providing the device lives up to consumer expectations.
The iPhone’s overall integration of iPod, Phone, Camera and Email/Internet capability (28%) remains the top selling point among likely buyers. Importantly, the survey has also uncovered an additional surge in demand if the iPhone’s proposed price point is lowered.
To find out how far the price has to drop to attract additional customers, we asked the rest of our respondents who aren’t yet considering the iPhone the following question:
For those not considering buying an Apple iPhone, at what price point would you consider buying an iPhone?
A total of 10% say they’d consider buying a 4GB iPhone if the price falls to the $200-$299 range, while a total of 20% said they’d consider the 8GB model in this price range.
The Explosive Impact on Cell Phone Manufacturers
To gain a full sense of the iPhone’s looming impact on manufacturers, we compared their current market share in our survey with planned consumer purchases for the next six months.
Currently, Motorola (MOT) (33%) remains the leading manufacturer among Alliance cell phone owners, with LG (LPL) (15%) second and Nokia (NOK) (14%) third. But when you look at planned future buying the iPhone’s impact becomes clear.
For the second-consecutive survey, Motorola’s future share among consumers has seen a dramatic decline – falling from 33% last October to just 17% currently. Nokia has also fallen from 11% to 9% during this period.
“As more and more consumers switch to the iPhone, we are going to see a huge migration from cell phone manufacturers like Motorola to the hipper, cooler iPhone,” says Tobin Smith, founder of ChangeWave Research and editor of ChangeWave Investing.
The Effect on Cellular Service Providers
We see the same pattern among service providers. Currently, Verizon (VZ) (30%) holds the market share lead among our respondents while AT&T’s (T) Cingular (27%) – which is Apple’s exclusive service provider for the United States – is in second. We note that third place Sprint/Nextel (S) (12%) has fallen 1-point to a new low.
But going forward we find a dramatic turn of events. Cingular (28%; up 6 points) has surged ahead of Verizon in terms of future planned buying among consumers, and is now the top choice among those likely to switch service providers.
Verizon (22%; down 3 points) has continued to trend downward among this critically important group – falling to second place for the first time since we began asking this question in a ChangeWave survey.
Thanks to our early adopters of the ChangeWave Alliance we are able to see with stark clarity how the Apple iPhone is set to rock the cell phone industry.
Ultimately the real issue for Apple isn’t meeting its first year iPhone sales goals. The survey shows that’s very doable. The real issue is whether they can keep up with consumer demand – including having enough parts to fulfill orders – while maintaining product integrity.
Its competitors had better hope the iPhone can’t get a dial tone – because if it does, the rest of the industry’s in for a big shakeup.
Jim Woods co-wrote this article.
This article summarizes the results of a recent ChangeWave Alliance survey. The Alliance is a research network of 10,000 business, technology and medical professionals who spend their everyday lives working on the front line of technological change. For more info on the ChangeWave Alliance, or if you are interested in joining, please click here.
Apple’s iPhone Rocks the Cell Phone Industry – Seeking Alpha
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