Samsung Surges but Apple's iPhone 5 Advance Demand Looms Large

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Smart phone maker Samsung is seeing a huge surge of momentum but the top finding from a new survey is the unprecedented wave of advance demand for the next generation Apple iPhone.

ChangeWave Research's June survey looked at current demand for the Samsung Galaxy S III vs. advance demand for an Apple "iPhone 5" among 4,042 primarily North American consumers.

"Advance demand for the "iPhone 5" is strikingly higher than we've seen for any previous iPhone model," according to Dr. Paul Carton, ChangeWave's VP of Research. "Overall smart phone sales should spike to an all-time high this fall, and of course Apple is going to be the number one beneficiary. But besides Apple, and to a lesser degree Samsung, no other manufacturer is likely to benefit from this coming wave of demand."

Samsung (19%) is showing major momentum for the second time in the past three surveys - having registered a 6-pt surge in planned buying just since March. All told, this represents nearly a four-fold increase in consumer intent to buy Samsung smart phones in the past three quarters.

The recently released Galaxy S III is in large part responsible for the burst of Samsung momentum.

A total of 2% of respondents say they're Very Likely to buy a Samsung Galaxy S III and 7% Somewhat Likely. The top reason why they plan on buying is The Size and Quality of Screen (15%).

Next they looked at advance demand for the next generation "iPhone 5," which Apple is expected to release later this year.

Consumers were presented a description of probable "iPhone 5" features, and asked how likely they were to buy one when it becomes available.

Some Analysts think Apple will release its next generation "iPhone 5" later this year. New features will likely include a larger screen, improved camera, a new iOS 6 operating system and 4G/LTE capability. The iPhone 5 is expected to cost $199 for the 16GB model, $299 for the 32GB model and $399 for the 64GB model, with a 2-year contract on most of the major carriers.

With 14% of consumers saying they're Very Likely and 17% Somewhat Likely to buy the "iPhone 5" in the future, advance demand for the next generation iPhone is strikingly higher than for any previous iPhone model.

For example: a similar question on future demand for the iPhone 4S, taken at the time of its October 2011 launch, showed 10% Very Likely and 11.5% Somewhat Likely to purchase the device. Moreover, the iPhone 4S is currently considered the most successful smart phone release in history.

In sum, the biggest finding of the survey is the unprecedented level of advance demand for the next generation Apple iPhone (i.e., the "iPhone 5") - which based on these survey numbers easily dwarfs the advance demand of any previous iPhone launch.

That said, with overall interest in Samsung models nearly four times greater than they saw three quarters ago, the Taiwan manufacturer also remains a huge winner in this survey - with the Galaxy S III a major driving force.

Other Findings

The huge wave of pent-up demand for the coming iPhone launch has important implications for the rest of the industry - and puts a number of second tier smart phone manufacturers at increased risk of coming in below plan for the year.

In contrast to Apple and Samsung, demand for Motorola (4%; down 2-pts) and HTC (3%; unchanged) remains sluggish, while RIM (2%; unchanged) is stuck at its all-time low.

In a positive finding for Nokia (2%), it's seeing a slight uptick in consumer smart phone buying. While it's only a 1-pt increase over March, it remains a hopeful sign for their new Lumia device as well as their strategic partnership with Microsoft.

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Tags: apple iphone  samsung  galaxy s3  USA 

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