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Nearly half of prospective smartphone buyers to choose iPhone

Even amid turbulent times, smartphone adoption continues to rise, with a new study revealing that nearly half of those consumers who plan to make a new smartphone purchase in the next three months will buy an iPhone.

A survey of over 4,000 respondents conducted by ChangeWave in the days immediately following the announcement of the iPhone 3GS found that more than 14% plan to purchase an integrated mobile device in the next 90 days — the highest percentage ever recorded by the firm.

Of those who said they plan to make a purchase, a resounding 44% indicated that they plan to buy an iPhone, compared to 23% who said they'll buy a BlackBerry and 8% who indicated they'll choose a device made by Palm.

That's a 14 point jump for Apple since ChangeWave's last survey in March, which appears to have come directly at the expense of Research in Motion, whose BlackBerry demand fell by the same number of points. Meanwhile, purchase intentions for a device made by Palm doubled following the introduction of the Pre.

For Apple and its exclusive U.S. iPhone service provider AT&T, the news gets even better. Of those consumers who say they'll be buying an iPhone, more than 66% also said they'll be new to the platform, having never owned one of Apple's handset.

The survey also suggests that the surge in demand for iPhones isn't being driven by Apple's decision to continue marketing the previous-generation 8G iPhone 3G for just $99. Instead, over 86% of respondents planning to buy an iPhone said they'll choose one of the new 3GS models.

In terms of current market share, Research In Motion (41%) remains the market share leader among consumers – unchanged since ChangeWave's previous survey in March – with Apple (25%; up 1 point) now firmly in second place. Palm (7%) remains far behind in third place, but their market slide finally appears to be slowing, according to the market research firm, down just two points in the past six months compared to 5-points in the six months before that.


"Clearly, the Palm Pre is breathing new life into the company. Future demand appears strong, although the Palm brand name no longer commands the same presence it did back in its pioneer days," the firm said. "The far bigger story, however, is that of the iPhone 3GS. The new model release has resulted in a huge spike in demand for Apple going forward. Moreover, consumer plans for smart phone buying in the next 90 days are more than a third higher than they were a year ago."

Still, one-in-four consumers say the most important reason they’re not considering buying an Apple iPhone is because they don’t like the requirement that they'll have to use AT&T. Similarly, 16% say they won’t buy a Palm Pre because they’d have to use Sprint.