Apple iPhone 4S still the most desirable smartphone in market

9 Jan 2012

The Apple iPhone 4S

Apple’s iPhone 4S is still the most sought-after smartphone in the market more than two months after its release. However, Samsung is catching up fast, a new ChangeWave survey reveals.

A new ChangeWave Research survey of 4,000 North American consumers has found explosive momentum for Apple and Samsung as the new year gets under way. ChangeWave Research is a service of 451 Research.

The late December survey looked at smartphone demand trends going forward, and finds Apple iPhone demand remains incredibly strong more than two months after the iPhone 4S release.

Among respondents planning to buy a new smartphone in the next 90 days, better than one in two (54pc) say they’ll get an iPhone.

Apple has never dominated smartphone planned buying to this extent more than two months after a major new release.

The other company burning up the competition is Samsung (13pc), which has registered a huge eight-point surge in planned buying since the previous ChangeWave survey. This represents nearly a tripling of consumer interest in Samsung phones just since fall 2011.

In contrast to Apple’s single phone approach, Samsung has a broad portfolio of Android phones that it continues to expand and refresh, including its flagship Galaxy line.

The just-released Galaxy Nexus – the first US 4G phone running Android’s new 4.0 operating system (Ice Cream Sandwich) – appears to be a major driving force behind the leap in Samsung planned buying.

Samsung’s 4.0 OS update to some of its most popular models during the first quarter is also heightening consumer interest.

Outlook for other manufacturers

Research in Motion (2pc) has fallen another one point in planned buying to its lowest level ever in a ChangeWave survey. Since it peaked back in September 2008, Research in Motion planned buying has fallen in nine of the past 12 ChangeWave surveys.

After a precipitous drop in market share over the previous two quarters, Motorola (7pc) is again showing some signs of momentum – having experienced a two-point uptick in planned buying.

In contrast, HTC (3pc; down three points) continues its multi-quarter decline. Now in fourth place in terms of future planned buying, the latest ChangeWave survey results present further negative news for the Taiwan manufacturer, which recently cut its revenue guidance.

A key reason for the Apple iPhone’s extraordinary demand has to do with its industry-leading customer satisfaction rating. In the current survey, three-in-four iPhone owners (75pc) say they’re Very Satisfied with their smartphone.

Samsung and HTC are now in a dead heat for second place, each of them with 47pc of their customers saying they are Very Satisfied with their smartphones. Right behind them in third place is Motorola (45pc).

RIM (22pc) ranks dead last in the all-important satisfaction sweepstakes – down two points from September, again to its lowest level ever in a ChangeWave survey. 



John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years