Data points are mounting that Verizon Wireless' launch of the iPhone was a so-so affair and the biggest takeaway is that tech buyers are a lot smarter than you think. Consumers aren't drones that will just go out and buy whatever is pitched to them.
BGR reports that Verizon iPhone sales at five Apple stores have been so-so. Actually by time day five of the launch was done Verizon and AT&T iPhone sales weren't all that different. Note that BGR's report doesn't include Verizon Wireless store sales, but the findings are similar to other estimates.
The big takeaway here is that folks aren't going to instantly jump ship from AT&T. In fact, contracts dictate that they probably can't.
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More notable, however, is that consumers may just be waiting for the iPhone 5. Why buy now when a new model lands in just a few months? Toss in the fact that Verizon Wireless is about to launch LTE devices and there is no reason to buy a smartphone right now. As for my personal situation---detailed previously---I basically punted. I bought an HTC Incredible with a one-year contract and will upgrade in December.
BGR's report adds to other anecdotal data points. For instance, Barclays Capital analyst James Ratcliffe called Verizon's iPhone launch "smooth, but quiet" in a Feb. 11 research report. Ratcliffe wrote:
Our proprietary survey of over 75 locations selling the Verizon iPhone largely supports our view that the VZ iPhone launch, while material to both Verizon and AT&T, is not likely to radically reshape the industry landscape. Supply was ample, with very few locations reporting sellouts. Overall traffic appears to have been moderate, due to the ease of online preordering for existing VZ customers and (possibly) the weather. Most customers were either upgrading from existing VZ products, or switching from AT&T iPhones. A number of Apple Store and Best Buy staffers expressed skepticism about the benefits of switching from AT&T to VZ.
In Ratcliffe's survey he aggregated the following comments.
- Apple store sales people were really surprised at “how slow” the traffic had been.
- Verizon store in Chicago “I have more iPhones left than I thought there would be at 9am, and we have been open for over two hours now.” – Chicago, IL
Hudson Square Research did its own exit polling and surveyed 131 consumers in line in various states. Daniel Ernst, an analyst at Hudson Square, said the Verizon store in update New York was busiest (with 35 people in line), but most lines were non-existent. Like BGR reported most iPhone buyers were giving up BlackBerries.
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