Was Apple’s latest quarterly earnings report a signal to the market or just noise?
The company’s most recent earnings were called “disappointing,” causing a dip in the stock price and a rush for insight into the next quarter.
For example, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster found by asking 400 consumers that 65 percent said they expect their next phone to be an iPhone.
“That’s good news, but doesn’t begin to tell the whole story,” said Vincent Schiavone, co-founder and CEO of ListenLogic.
Launch of the iPhone 5 will be epic
“Based on what we heard from six million social conversations, the only conclusion we can logically reach is that the launch of the iPhone5 will be epic.”
ListenLogic has built its own real-time, big-data stream platform to draw insights from massive amounts of enterprise and unstructured data.
“Apple is not a client, but many financial services and consumer products companies we work with are keenly interested in the company as a model. It is one of a set of brands for which we have created syndicated research offering deeper insights because of their role as essential markers for the overall health of the economy,” said Schiavone.
Six million social conversations analyzed
In a just-concluded four-week period, ListenLogic analyzed six million social media conversations devoted to discussing consumer intent to purchase a smart phone. According to the company, the goal was to understand who the customers are, what they are buying and why they are buying.
“Our mission is to discover answers to questions not yet asked,” Schiavone said. “Our deeper understanding of big data enables this kind of real, predictive analysis.”
In seeking an answer to the market questions about Apple, ListenLogic collected social data well beyond Facebook and Twitter, to include comments on news sites and forums, micro-blogs and online media, including video.
Among the findings were:
- There was a substantial increase of nearly 50 percent in intent to purchase the iPhone5 as compared to data on the iPhone4S in 2011. Last year, 58 percent of the pertinent online conversations spoke to purchase. That number today is 73 percent.
- That 76 percent of the “intent-to-purchase” social conversations reference brand rather than any single, specific attribute of the iPhone5. “This intense brand loyalty is bad news for Apple’s competitors who are seeking to either gain or expand a foothold,” Schiavone said.
- Of the 17 percent who did reference a feature, screen size, a widely discussed “must have,” ranked second with just over 5 percent overall. It was battery life (7 percent overall) that topped the list. Speed was third (5 percent overall) According to ListenLogic, there are no specific features driving market demand.
- Despite suggestions that current iPhone ownership and existing mobile service contracts might be a barrier to purchase, ListenLogic found that 82 percent who intend to purchase are current iPhone owners.
- Among current iPhone owners there was evidence of the emergence of both a personal and business device-specific ecosystem that will expand the market.
- Twenty-nine percent of those people who intend to purchase plan to hand their “old” phones and service contracts down to their kids, significant others, friends or within their business.
- The power of the Apple brand was seen clearly in the 23 percent of potential purchasers who said they would postpone buying clothes, cars, even booking vacations to make sure they can afford to purchase an iPhone 5.
- In a finding that could be interpreted as signs of strength beyond the next quarter, the number of consumers asking for recommendations for smart phones has tripled. Consumers intending to purchase the iPhone5 based on social recommendations has increased from 48 percent to 82 percent year over year.
“This willingness to sacrifice to buy Apple products may be the single biggest measure of brand loyalty and the greatest source of anxiety for the competition,” Schiavone said. “The current data show that only Apple can unseat Apple.”
A summary of the research on Apple is available at http://www.listenlogic.com/apple
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