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Developer's sales suggest Verizon iPhone selling to existing iOS users

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
One prominent App Store developer has found the launch of the Verizon iPhone earlier this month had no discernible effect on software sales, while other events like launches and the holidays caused "huge spikes," suggesting new customers already owned an iPhone or iPod touch.

Marco Arment of the popular Instapaper application (iTunes link) for iPhone and iPad, noted this week that rankings for his software are usually relatively steady, but sales can vary -- particularly when an iPhone-related event occurs. Based on this, he assumes that sales of Instapaper could indicate overall App Store trends.

"The results are fairly obvious: I see huge spikes whenever there's a new iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad released, whenever they become available in a major new country, or whenever there's a major reason for people to buy a lot of them (like the holidays)," Arment wrote.

Since the Verizon iPhone 4 launched on Feb. 10, Arment's application has seen no major change in sales. He noted that his ranks on the App Store have been nearly constant, as have overall sales.

Based on his assumption that sales of his application could indicate overall iPhone trends, Arment offers three potential theories on launch sales of the Verizon iPhone 4. First, he says it's possible that very few Verizon iPhones have been sold, a suggestion he calls unlikely. Second, he said it's possible that Verizon iPhone owners aren't buying many applications, which he also considers unlikely.

Finally, Arment suggested that most Verizon iPhones have been sold to existing iPhone or iPod touch users. In this scenario, customers getting the Verizon iPhone could already own most or all of the App Store software they would be interested in buying.

Sales of Instapaper have not seen a boost from the Verizon iPhone launch.

The developer said he believes most buyers of the Verizon iPhone 4 are casual users, with "different priorities" than Apple enthusiasts. He believes they are more patient for upgrades, which could result in demand for the handset being spread over a long period of time.

"I think that, while the Verizon iPhone's sales are going to be strong overall, it's going to be at a far more gradual rate than people like me had initially assumed," he wrote.

Though Apple and Verizon have not made an announcement on initial iPhone 4 sales, one rumor last week suggested the two companies were disappointed with initial uptake. However, a Verizon spokesperson contradicted that report, and said the company was pleased with initial sales.

Analysts on Wall Street said they expected sales of the new Verizon iPhone to sell about a million in the first week. The launch is expected to have been smaller than ones at rival carrier AT&T because the iPhone 4 first launched last June, and was essentially the same phone that debuted on Verizon's network this month.
post #2 of 33
Or perhaps it will take some time for al those new to iPhone via Verizon to explore and discover what is available in the App store.

I don't quite recall - but i think I didn't get many apps when the store first debuted - I tried a couple free ones. I have likely spent more $ in the 6 months since I got the iPhone 4 than I did in 3 years with the original iPhone.
post #3 of 33
From my experience, most of them already have an iPod touch. It would probably make more sense to see if there was a spike in GPS software sold.
post #4 of 33
I think he's right in that a lot of the verizon users already have an iOS device. This is my first iPhone, but before our iPhones we had 6 iOS devices in our family of 7. Since we share one iTunes account we haven't had to buy many new apps. However as time goes on and I start exploring the apps that are out there for just the iPhone, I am sure I will purchase more.
post #5 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by esummers View Post

From my experience, most of them already have an iPod touch. It would probably make more sense to see if there was a spike in GPS software sold.

Thats what I thought just from the article title. Also, the iPad version of Instapaper is universal so they wouldnt have to rebuy it for an iPhone. I have to think that many waiting for the Verizon iPhone may have an iPad already.
post #6 of 33
I bet most Verizon iPhone users already had the iPod Touch.
post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsblair View Post

However as time goes on and I start exploring the apps that are out there for just the iPhone, I am sure I will purchase more.

I think that is an important point. Instapaper is near one of the worst apps as a litmus test for new iPhone sales. An app like TomTom or something else that is only designed for the iPhone, not the iPod Touch or iPad would be a much better measure.
post #8 of 33
The obvious reason is that the Verizon iPhone isn't selling that well.

Seems that most folks who really wanted the iPhone were willing to suffer with AT&T. Those who weren't bought an Android phone.

I don't believe most Verizon users have iPod touches.
post #9 of 33
Rationalizations aside, perhaps for once the more conservative analysts were right:

http://www.businessinsider.com/crazy...t-sell-2010-12
post #10 of 33
Most of my primary thoughts have already been posted. But there is at least one more reason I can think of. At least in my case I usually have a lot more time to try out new apps during the holiday season. So at least I will regularly contribute to the spike during the holidays.
post #11 of 33
I think another reason is that many of the buyers on Verizon moved from AT&T. I live in the D/FW Metroplex home to AT&T and yet my service is abysmal. This applies to all three iPhones (3GS and 4) we owned. Our new Verizon iPhones don't drop calls and the data speeds are equivalent to AT&T. Talk and surf.. whatever...NOT a reason to suffer with AT&T any longer.
post #12 of 33
My sales numbers also agree with the article. I haven't seen any up tick.
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post #13 of 33
The following groups of Verizon iPhone owners may not generate a lot of iOS app sales

-iPad owners most likely already own a number of apps.

-New iPhone owners who chose the iPhone as being the best smart phone may not yet have savoured the capabilities of all those nice apps that are available.

Further, Verizon iPhone sales may pick up gradually as people who got themselves a different smart phone will not switch over immediately. They will when the battery starts wearing out or someone in the family will buy one for them on the next birthday or in the next holiday season. Those people aren't in a hurry, but they will buy an iPhone when they are ready.
post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by esummers View Post

From my experience, most of them already have an iPod touch. It would probably make more sense to see if there was a spike in GPS software sold.

I tend to agree. Most people I know who have purchased an iPhone already had an iPod, mostly a Touch (myself included). I waited - a very long time - until Verizon started selling iPhones. I've been a Mac user since 1985.

Along with a spike in GPS, what about social networking software or travel-related software like Starbucks, or Culver's? These were apps I added because even though I used my Touch via wi-fi (typically through my Verizon MI-FI 2200) the apps were not nearly as desirable. Now that I'm on 3G and have ready access anywhere via my iPhone, apps like these are much more appealing.
post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by dm3 View Post

The obvious reason is that the Verizon iPhone isn't selling that well.

Seems that most folks who really wanted the iPhone were willing to suffer with AT&T. Those who weren't bought an Android phone.

I don't believe most Verizon users have iPod touches.

This story is FUD. Appleinsider is being a bit funky lately in it's choices of FUD stories.
Im in L.A. I work in entertainment marketing for a major film studio here. I see huge volumes of market research data that still shows three things... The iPhone, iPad, and touch are still still the most "want to" have items week after week. The AIR line rates HUGE in laptop research. Why do we do this research? Guess.

In my personal world... Heres what's up. I got three close friends who WANT a iPhone but need to wait for contracts to expire. 6 close friends upgraded or switched to i4 on launch day 4 others are waiting for upgrade dates to evolve, and 3 literally decided the day before Verizon launch to WAIT till June for iPhone 5. Oh and my 85 year old Aunt drove herself to a Verizon store on launch day replace her flip phone with the I4 because she could UPGRADE. A neighbor of mine stopped me yesterday cuz she wanted to show me her iPhone 4 on Verizon she just got. I have to say ALL of the people in my personal survey already own a MAC device. Bottom line. Verizon had three weeks to gather solid data about how many of it's customers want to upgrade. That's solid data and it's ongoing. The golden ticket is when LARGE chunks of ATT users contracts expire.. June or July will be tough months for ATT. Apple, Verizon, ATT spend big bucks on research in and out of house. The Verizon component is a new dynamic in the IOS revolution. I think
the Verizon launch was very well planned and timed according to a long term strategy that appeared to be last minute and demand driven when in fact I think it just wanted to get inti the ball game ahead of i5. You guys assume that Apple and Verizon are these lame nitwits shooting straws hoping for a great outcome. Get with the program. Posting this ludicrous story to showhow "judge Verizon iOS sales is so so lame.

Hundreds of million cell phones turn over every year because of many factors.
post #16 of 33
If the Carrier Clash website <http://labs.chitika.com/iZone/> is accurate, Verizon must have sold at least about a million iPhones by now, but it does seem likely that a high percentage of the buyers either own an AT&T iPhone, and iPod Touch, or an iPad, in which case they would not need to re-purchase this app (if they were even interested in it to begin with). Of course, it would be best for Apple and the developers if all of these customers were new to iOS, but...
post #17 of 33
I am the developer of the popular 5-0 Radio app, and my theory is that Verizon users are only buying the most popular apps and have not taken the time to explore the rest yet. Instapaper is not in the top 100 overall paid apps, and therefore may not be affected by the Verizon iPhone sales. My 5-0 Radio app is in the top 100, and its sales have risen by 30% last week compared to the week before the Verizon iPhone went on sale. This trend is also apparent in the free version of our app. The downloads for the free app have risen by 25% last week compared to the week before the Verizon iPhone went on sale. Go to http://smartestapple.com and contact me if you would like to quote me on this. I can even provide a screenshot of my app sales.
post #18 of 33
Probably obvious, but I seem to recall that in one poll about half the respondents interested in a Verizon iPhone said they'd wait for the V-iPhone 5. That, in fact, is my plan. Indeed, at that point it's likely that both my wife and I will finally replace our old Verizon-LG "feature-phones."
post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by VanFruniken View Post

Further, Verizon iPhone sales may pick up gradually as people who got themselves a different smart phone will not switch over immediately.

Exactly. Given that the iPhone on Verizon came out with "last years model" less than six months from the new model, I'm frankly surprised that the iPhone 4 did as well on Verizon as it did.
post #20 of 33
Actually I think most VZ customers are still trying to figure out how to pay VZ to download things from their V-cast services. They probably were not smart enough to realize there was an App Store from Apple. They are so brain washed by VZ that you need to pay VZ if you want anything extra on your phone.
post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

Or perhaps it will take some time for al those new to iPhone via Verizon to explore and discover what is available in the App store.

I don't quite recall - but i think I didn't get many apps when the store first debuted - I tried a couple free ones. I have likely spent more $ in the 6 months since I got the iPhone 4 than I did in 3 years with the original iPhone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartestapple View Post

I am the developer of the popular 5-0 Radio app, and my theory is that Verizon users are only buying the most popular apps and have not taken the time to explore the rest yet. Instapaper is not in the top 100 overall paid apps, and therefore may not be affected by the Verizon iPhone sales. My 5-0 Radio app is in the top 100, and its sales have risen by 30% last week compared to the week before the Verizon iPhone went on sale. This trend is also apparent in the free version of our app. The downloads for the free app have risen by 25% last week compared to the week before the Verizon iPhone went on sale. Go to http://smartestapple.com and contact me if you would like to quote me on this. I can even provide a screenshot of my app sales.

My thoughts exactly.
post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post

Exactly. Given that the iPhone on Verizon came out with "last years model" less than six months from the new model, I'm frankly surprised that the iPhone 4 did as well on Verizon as it did.

People are always saying this and I don't get their logic. It would imply that Apple is only able to sell the new model iPhone for 2 or 3 months after it comes out before everyone then waits for the new model.

Obviously that's not the case.
post #23 of 33
It's coming across the wire that Steve Jobs plans to return full time to the Apple Campus as soon as health issues are resolved...
post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by dm3 View Post

The obvious reason is that the Verizon iPhone isn't selling that well.

Seems that most folks who really wanted the iPhone were willing to suffer with AT&T. Those who weren't bought an Android phone.

I don't believe most Verizon users have iPod touches.

Except that's not true. Every indication (i.e. preorders selling out, company statement) shows that sales for the VZW iphone was fine, and any difference from the sales of AT&T iphones was likely because it was an 8 month old phone to start with. It makes more sense that the people who have been sticking with verizon and not getting the iphone because AT&T is crap (in NY anyway) bought an ipod touch on the side and have a crappy feature phone for calls and texts. Those people would already have all the apps. Second, there was an earlier rumor showing that alot of new VZ activations were ex-android users. Finally, since most people who can afford an Ipod nowadays buys the ipod touch, why do you think VZW users wouldn't have one?
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post #25 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by gijoeinla View Post

In my personal world... Heres what's up. I got three close friends who WANT a iPhone but need to wait for contracts to expire. 6 close friends upgraded or switched to i4 on launch day 4 others are waiting for upgrade dates to evolve, and 3 literally decided the day before Verizon launch to WAIT till June for iPhone 5. Oh and my 85 year old Aunt drove herself to a Verizon store on launch day replace her flip phone with the I4 because she could UPGRADE. A neighbor of mine stopped me yesterday cuz she wanted to show me her iPhone 4 on Verizon she just got.

If we're substituting anecdotes for facts, then I can definitively state that Android phones are outselling iPhones with at least a 3:1 ratio. I know six Android users, (my brother, his wife, 2 nephews and 2 nieces) and only two iPhone users (2 coworkers).
post #26 of 33
This is so unsurprising, I'm surprised it's even an article. Did anyone honestly expect that the Verizon iPhone would gain any kind of significant market share from Android users?

iPhones are beautiful and provide a smooth user experience, but they're drastically more limited when it comes to functionality. Some people will switch since they enjoy having smoother animations and screen transitions, but it's hard to turn one's back on Android's perfect notification system, true multi-tasking, and customization abilities.
post #27 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by aquajets1 View Post

Except that's not true. Every indication (i.e. preorders selling out, company statement) shows that sales for the VZW iphone was fine, and any difference from the sales of AT&T iphones was likely because it was an 8 month old phone to start with. It makes more sense that the people who have been sticking with verizon and not getting the iphone because AT&T is crap (in NY anyway) bought an ipod touch on the side and have a crappy feature phone for calls and texts. Those people would already have all the apps. Second, there was an earlier rumor showing that alot of new VZ activations were ex-android users. Finally, since most people who can afford an Ipod nowadays buys the ipod touch, why do you think VZW users wouldn't have one?

Those statistics about who was getting a Verizon iPhone were from 5 Apple stores. Most verizon customers either order online or at a Verizon store.

Seriously, any report claiming that 30% of iOS activations were former Android users on Verizon is FUD for the simple fact that a MAJORITY (Read, almost every single one of them) is still several months away from being eligible to upgrade, and that's assuming they got the original Droid phone on LAUNCH day.

The Average customer signs a 2 year contract to get a discounted price on a phone. Verizon lets those customer 20 months into the contract, or 4 months early. We haven't reached that date yet for launch day, much less the months that followed.

The only customers who get an "early" upgrade are primary (or single) lines on high value planes, ie, something other than the basic. There would also be the rare exception upgrade, the customer who got an upgrade early because of issues with their account/they're really bitchy on the phone. Even if every single one of these customers got an iphone ASAP, most would've pre-ordered, and annual upgrades can only typically be processed at premium retailers or corp locations, meaning the 30% number doesn't include many of them.

What does that leave? People who paid full retail, either for the iphone, or for the Android device they had before it. Full retail customers are still statistically highly unlikely for phones, which is why that claim is FUD.

the Verizon iPhone did very well for a launch day in February. Most likely sales will grow steadily as upgrades come up. You won't see an influx of former Android users (massive or otherwise) until at least this summer, when the first upgrades start coming up.

Edit: Not trying to attack you at all. I understand that most people don't understand how contracts work, especially if they don't have that carrier. It's just another example about how news outlets are dropping any hint of journalism in an effort to gain page views. Stuff like this and the "Verizon offering iphone only $20 unlimited texting plan" should never make it past an editor, especially on a tech site.
post #28 of 33
I'm the poster child for this scenario. Although a dedicated Apple user, I would not switch to AT&T for a variety of reasons, including the fact that sot everyone I talk to is on Verizon (and I didn't want them to have to use minutes to talk to me or vice a versa). I have owned an iPod Touch sine the 32 gig model came out. I waited patiently for the Verizon iPhone always believing it was just a matter of time and purchased one on launch day. I own a fair number of paid apps and have not yet purchased anything new. I will purchase new apps as I find apps that appeal to me.
post #29 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by dm3 View Post

The obvious reason is that the Verizon iPhone isn't selling that well.

Seems that most folks who really wanted the iPhone were willing to suffer with AT&T. Those who weren't bought an Android phone.

I don't believe most Verizon users have iPod touches.

Yes we do have iPods ....the application discussed in the article is a bad "index" or measuring stick...my family has 5 iPod touches, and this is our first iPhone...we bought 2...
post #30 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

Actually I think most VZ customers are still trying to figure out how to pay VZ to download things from their V-cast services. They probably were not smart enough to realize there was an App Store from Apple. They are so brain washed by VZ that you need to pay VZ if you want anything extra on your phone.

Really ? We never used the Verizon app store...maybe some of us are taking our time and not buying EVERY app out there....not brain washed by anyone, just like the quality and service VZ provides....
post #31 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

If we're substituting anecdotes for facts, then I can definitively state that Android phones are outselling iPhones with at least a 3:1 ratio. I know six Android users, (my brother, his wife, 2 nephews and 2 nieces) and only two iPhone users (2 coworkers).

Android is not "outselling" anyone....many of the offers are "buy one, get another one for free"...
post #32 of 33
like @adschaefer, I never got around to getting an iPhone, making do with a basic VZ phone, a 1st gen iPod touch and then an iPad. When I activated my VZ iPhone, I already had all the apps I routinely use, including the very useful Instapaper. Since acquiring an iPhone I've only added a couple of Iphone-specific apps, for scanning barcodes and documents; things I couldn't do with my iPod/iPad.
post #33 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voight-Kampff View Post

This is so unsurprising, I'm surprised it's even an article. Did anyone honestly expect that the Verizon iPhone would gain any kind of significant market share from Android users?

iPhones are beautiful and provide a smooth user experience, but they're drastically more limited when it comes to functionality. Some people will switch since they enjoy having smoother animations and screen transitions, but it's hard to turn one's back on Android's perfect notification system, true multi-tasking, and customization abilities.

Then why is it that EVERY Android user drools over what I can do on my iPhone? Why is that the apps on Android are all lower quality, less feature-rich, than on iOS?

Sure there are things you can do on Android you can't on iOS, but pretty much only the 2-3% of geeks use those and as such they do not count towards market realities.
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