First Week Out, Verizon iPhone Sales Not So Incredible
The Verizon iPhone is selling like hotcakes, but it’s not the blockbuster carrier-changing diaspora that it was expected to be. An alleged “insider tip” supplied to BoyGeniusReports noted that Verizon iPhone sales in its first week of availability weren’t astronomically higher than AT&T iPhone sales. I have a few ideas why …
BoyGeniusReports (BGR) reported unit sales Feb. 10-14, 2011, during the first week of Verizon iPhone sales from five Apple stores, two of which are “very prominent” (I think that means at least one is the the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in NYC):
Feb. 10: Verizon = 909, AT&T = 539
Feb. 11: Verizon = 916, AT&T = 680
Feb. 12: Verizon = 660, AT&T = 471
Feb. 13: Verizon = 796, AT&T = 701
Feb. 14: Verizon = 711, AT&T = 618
BGR also reported 550,000 units were pre-ordered online, with an impressive 30 percent of those sales going to Android users and 25 percent going to BlackBerry users. (That’s a general win for Apple.) The remaining percentage of buyers either didn’t say what phone they were using or didn’t have a smartphone (or a phone at all).
So what do the numbers mean? It seems Verizon’s popularity lasted two days, and by the time Valentine’s Day came around, its sales were nearly level with AT&T’s.
I think the issue is two-fold:
Geeks: Yup. Geeks, nerds, techies and computer-savvy consumers tend to do a smidgen of future-proofing. For users who want to get the most use out of their iPhone, the CDMA network is not the way to go. Besides the fact that users can’t talk and surf at the same time, they also can’t have more than two people on a conference call, their data connection drops as soon as they get a call, and they can kiss goodbye the idea of ‘unlocking’ the phone for future SIM-card use by other networks (cough: T-Mobile) and overseas. In short, the CDMA version is a crippled iPhone in many ways.
Advertising: AT&T and Verizon have fought fierce battles on the television, each pointing to their own flaws and feats. Verizon brought the “Can You Hear Me Now” guy out of retirement just for one incredibly smug remark (“Yes, I can hear you NOW,”) to highlight Verizon’s call quality. Verizon also rightfully bragged about its superior coverage (not that it’s all 3G, though). But AT&T has fired back multiple times with commercials that prove the usefulness of having voice and data at the same time, while also truthfully boasting that its network is faster (despite coverage issues).
AT&T also has been aggressively advertising a $49 iPhone 3GS, which is something Verizon can’t offer. Essentially, AT&T provides an entry-level iPhone — one that might appeal to customers with a family plan and a 14-year-old who wants an iPhone but doesn’t need a fancy new one. Problem solved. Dad gets the iPhone 4 and Junior can upgrade when the time is ready.
Although the hype around the Verizon iPhone was high, I think contract issues and competitive ads kept people from drinking the Verizon Kool-Aid.
Where do you see the iPhone carrier wars headed? As for me, I’ll be sticking with AT&T in future iterations of the iPhone.