We are now a week away from Apple’s next event, the first to be held on its new campus at the Steve Jobs Theater. The company is expected to unveil the tenth anniversary iPhone 8 and the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus and probably some other gadgets as well, such as the Apple Watch Series 3. It’s only natural for Wall Street to be waiting with excitement along with the tech community, and every analyst covering Apple (and even some that aren’t) is releasing their own iPhone 8 upgrade survey.
iPhone 8 upgrade survey says upgrade intent is as usual
This morning we have two more surveys to talk about.
Piper Jaffray analyst Michael J. Olson released the results of his iPhone 8 upgrade survey in a note dated Sept. 5. He surveyed more than 400 iPhone users in the U.S. and found that the percentage of them who are planning to upgrade to a new iPhone this fall is very similar to the percentage that had upgrade intentions last fall. He said that 16% of respondents plan to upgrade to a new iPhone this fall this year, versus 15% at the same point last year.
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The percentage of people who said they’re undecided about upgrading in the fall declined to 24% from 29% last year, while the percentage of those who have decided not to upgrade rose to 61% from 59% last year.
Consumers just don’t know about the iPhone 8???
Olson has an Overweight rating and $190 price target on Apple stock, so his analysis of his iPhone 8 upgrade survey isn’t much of a surprise. He feels his survey indicates “awareness” that a “more robust upgrade” is expected this fall is “relatively low” among iPhone users in the U.S.
I have to wonder whether I’m the only one who’s skeptical that most American iPhone users live under a rock and haven’t heard the tiniest whisper that Apple is expected to release a special tenth anniversary model. In fact, Apple’s own earnings commentary earlier this year would seem to disprove Olson’s theory, and he even mentions it in this same note.
Apple management said on one of their earnings calls earlier this year that consumers were pausing their iPhone purchases because of widespread rumors about the next iPhone model and how amazing it would be. Then again, KeyBanc and Canaccord Genuity both noted after Apple’s last earnings report that it didn’t look like consumers actually were pausing their iPhone purchases.
Of course, the lack of any pause in iPhone purchases refutes the pent-up iPhone demand theory that’s been widely circulated among Apple perma-bulls.
What about the price?
Barclays also conducted an iPhone 8 upgrade survey recently, and it was less than encouraging as far as pricing goes. The survey suggested that most consumers are not willing to pay more than $1,000 for an iPhone. The firm has an Equal Weight rating and $146 price target on Apple stock, which runs against Piper Jaffray’s Overweight rating. Thus, it’s no surprise that Barclays viewed the results of its survey in bearish glasses while Piper Jaffray looked at the results of its own iPhone 8 upgrade survey with rose-colored ones.
But Barclays isn’t the second of the two iPhone 8 upgrade surveys we’re looking at today. WalletHub also conducted its own survey, and although the website is focused on free credit scores, its survey revealed some interesting things that are applicable to Apple stock in light of the iPhone upgrade cycle. The firm found that 74% of respondents don’t plan to buy the new iPhone and just one in 50 people would pay over $1,000 for a new phone of any kind.
Although they didn’t just survey iPhone users, they also found that almost one-third Americans would rather have a new iPhone than a better credit score.