February 8, 2011, 9:44 AM

Appetite for Verizon iPhone voracious

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

Lead Photo

It took only two hours yesterday morning for iPhone-crazy consumers to rack up preorder sales of Apple Inc.’s iPhone 4 that broke all of Verizon’s first-day sales records. This from Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead in a statement today. Here’s the insane note: Those two hours were between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. Eastern time. Desperate much?

Verizon was sold out of its pre-order allotment at 8:10 p.m. Eastern time last night. Consumers can order Verizon iPhones online on Feb. 9 or buy them in-store Feb. 10.

Some more fun facts, according to a new survey of 700 U.S. smartphone users on AT&T or Verizon by market research firm uSamp:

  • 29% of AT&T customers who intend to switch to Verizon for the iPhone are willing to wait in line on Feb. 10 to get it. Among existing Verizon customers who plan to get the iPhone, 24% report a willingness to stand in line, too.
  • For young consumers, devotion to the iPhone is even more intense: Among AT&T customers intending to switch, 35% of those ages 18-24 and 50% of those ages 25-34 are willing to wait in line on the Feb. 10 launch day.  For Verizon’s current BlackBerry and Android users who report plans to switch to the iPhone, 46% of those ages 18-24 and 34% of those ages 25-34 will wait in line on day one.

Those were the fun facts. Here are the big ones:

  • According to the survey, 26% of current AT&T customers intend to switch to Verizon’s iPhone on the day it becomes available.
  • 66% of Verizon’s BlackBerry users report they are very or somewhat likely to switch to the iPhone Feb. 10.
  • 44% of Verizon’s Android users say they are very or somewhat likely to switch to the iPhone on the 10th.

And that’s all just for day one.

So, almost half of Verizon users of the much ballyhooed Android phones are throwing them in the trash and switching to the iPhone on day one. That’s huge. I wish I could put my finger on what it is exactly that makes the allure of the iPhone so powerful. There’s something about it that just makes it “cooler” than other smartphones, and people eat it up. (Full disclosure: I eat it up. I’m an iPhone and iPad user.) Whatever it is, the lesson here for retailers is iPhone owners love their iPhones, and vast numbers of non-iPhone owners want to be iPhone owners. And will be.

Yes, develop your Android apps. But just remember who the most zealous smartphone owners are out there. And let me tell you, their voracious appetite for the hardware is matched only by their insatiable thirst for apps and the mobile web. In a news story I wrote today, 82.8% of all mobile page views at one retailer came from a combination of the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Check your logs and prepare. (And keep an eye on those soaring iPad sales figures, too.)

Welcome to Verizon iPhone week. My best piece of advice: Stay outside of a mile perimeter of all Verizon and Apple stores Thursday.


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