Dow Jones soars above 23,000. Is it too stretched? >>> READ MORE

Explosive Changes in Consumer Demand Shake Up Smart Phone Industry


ChangeWave’s latest smart phone survey of 4,028 consumers shows an explosive transformation occurring in consumer demand – resulting in some major new winners and losers for second half 2010.

The survey – completed June 24th – took a close-up look at consumer demand for the new Apple iPhone 4 and the HTC Droid Incredible, along with the impact these and other offerings are having on the rest of the smart phone industry.

Among key emerging trends:

  • Next 90 day projections show the most extensive growth in consumer smart phone sales ever recorded in a ChangeWave survey
  • Big leaps forward for Apple and HTC are occurring at the expense of Motorola and RIM
  • The accompanying transformation in mobile OS preferences is being led by a huge increase in demand for the Apple OS and an accelerating downturn for the RIM OS

Smart Phone Growth

Consumer smart phone planned buying going forward is at an all-time high for a ChangeWave survey – with 16.4% of respondents in our latest survey saying they plan on buying a smart phone in the next 90 days.

smartphone buying chart

We note that overall buying plans going forward are significantly higher than they were a year ago at the start of the iPhone 3GS release.

Smart Phone Market Share

At the individual manufacturers’ level, the survey findings show a major leap forward for Apple and HTC at the expense of RIM and Motorola.

In terms of current share, Apple (34%) is up 1-pt since our March survey to an all-time high while RIM (34%) has taken another hit – dropping 4-pts in the past 90 days.
Android phones continue to have a major impact on the market, with HTC (8%; up 2-pts) and its new Droid Incredible and EVO models the biggest beneficiary. Motorola (6%), who in recent surveys had registered a wave of new demand for their Droid model, remains unchanged in the current survey.

But it’s when we look at future buying plans that the huge moves upward for Apple and HTC become most apparent. The new Apple iPhone 4 is driving much of the industry’s growth going forward, with more than one-in-two (52%) respondents who plan to buy a smart phone in the next 90 days saying they’ll get an Apple iPhone – an explosive 21-pt leap over our previous survey.

smartphone survey trends

HTC (19%) also shows a huge improvement going forward – registering a 7-pt jump in terms of future buying plans. On the other hand, Motorola (9%) has declined 7-pts since previously.

In short, as the following chart shows, the market for Android phones over the next 90 days has shifted to HTC while Motorola’s rise huge rise over the previous two surveys has stalled out.

Motorola HTC droid chart

Importantly, the biggest loser of all in the current survey is RIM (6%), which has registered an 8-pt drop to its lowest level ever in a ChangeWave survey.
Palm has also been buried in the wave of momentum for Apple and HTC.  For the first time in a ChangeWave survey, Palm is registering less than 1% of planned smart phone purchases going forward.

Customer Satisfaction. Satisfaction among existing customers helps explain much of the momentum shift in the smart phone market. The Apple iPhone continues to lead all other cell phone manufacturers, with 73% of owners reporting they are Very Satisfied with their iPhone.

smartphone satisfaction survey

HTC – with 39% of their customers saying they’re Very Satisfied – comes in second, followed by Motorola (34%) and Palm (34%).

In a clear sign of what’s most hurting RIM, the Canadian manufacturer has fallen to sixth place in terms of customer satisfaction (30%) – their seventh consecutive quarterly decline. To put this in perspective, the following chart compares Apple’s Very Satisfied rating with Research in Motion’s over the last three years of ChangeWave surveys:

apple iphone rim blackberry chart

Bottom Line: The new iPhone 4 and the iOS 4 have brought about a huge spike in demand for Apple going forward.  In addition, HTC has grabbed the lead in Android OS phones based upon the huge momentum of its Droid Incredible and that of other HTC Android models, including the new EVO 4G.

The combined momentum of these latest Apple and HTC offerings has catapulted consumer interest in smart phones to unprecedented levels – with consumer planned buying now at an all-time high for a ChangeWave survey.

Importantly, the momentum for Apple and HTC is occurring at the expense of other smart phone manufacturers – Motorola and Research in Motion in particular.

Motorola – previously the Android leader with the astonishing success of its Droid model – has seen its rise at least temporarily upended by the latest HTC offerings. However, the recent unveiling of MOT’s new Droid X device – featuring a 4.3-inch display, which the company believes is ideal for watching video (in contrast, the iPhone 4 only has a 3.5-inch display) – suggests it’s determined to fight back to regain its Android leadership mantle.

The market situation for RIM appears far more problematic, at least short term. RIM’s customer satisfaction ratings have plummeted for the past 7 quarters, and planned buying among consumers is at the lowest levels ever recorded for RIM in a ChangeWave survey.

In short, in recent quarters RIM models appear to have lost their ‘cool factor,’ and the onus is now squarely on RIM to regain consumers’ confidence in their products. To do so they need new, highly compelling offerings that can compete on an equal footing with the best that Apple and Android have to offer. Otherwise, RIM’s future growth may increasingly be limited to the success or failure of its lower cost models on the international market.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media,

©2017 InvestorPlace Media, LLC