After getting off to a shaky start, more than half of consumers shopping for a smartphone plan to buy an iPhone 5, according to a new Wall Street survey. Likewise, Twitter chatter indicates a growing number of Internet users hope to find Apple’s new handset under the Christmas tree.
Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster told investors Thursday that 53.3 percent of a group polled Wednesday said they plan to purchase the iPhone 5 over the next month. That number is just slightly below the 54.9 percent found in mid-October, following the new smartphone’s launch…
As Fortune’s Philip Elmer-Dewitt noted today, the pre-holiday 53.3 percent iPhone 5 interest is up from the 47.7 pre-launch in September, even withstanding the withering debate over the Apple Maps brouhaha.
In Android’s case, 35.3 percent of the 800 people Munster polled said they intend to buy a phone powered by Google’s mobile operating system.
That is essentially the same amount polled in September.
However, the introduction of the iPhone 5 appears to have cost Android some buyers. While interest in an Android before the iPhone 5 was released stood at 39 percent, that level dropped around four points after Apple introduced the device.
What about the single-digit also-rans, like Windows Phone and RIM?
Microsoft began pre-iPhone 5 with 8.7 percent of those polled indicating they’d buy a Windows Phone handset. However, by Wednesday, that number had slid to 6.5 percent.
RIM’s BlackBerry saw some gains between September and yesterday, but the advance was microscopic. After starting with 4.7 percent interest, 4.9 percent expressed interest by December 12.
Munster also took the pulse of Twitter users, watch for the “iPhone 5” keyword, along with things like “bought,” “shipped” and “purchased.” The resulting “demand index” shows a level of interest 30-40 percent higher than the same period in 2011.
According to the analyst:
Over the past two weeks, the demand index is up an average of 36 percent [year-over-year] and we note that this is the iPhone 5 demand ahead of Christmas, when some may be waiting to be gifted the device, compared to the 4S, which would be in January given the 2.5 month comparison.
As a result of the survey and Twitter comments, Munster said he has “continued confidence” in his forecast for 45 million iPhones sold with a 21 percent growth over the previous year.
I’m not sure if I’d give too much significance to the Twitter findings, other than the level of online chatter concerning the iPhone 5 is longer-lasting than the 4S.
On the other hand, it’s intriguing that demand for the iPhone 5 increased through the rumor stage and into the post-announcement period, where interest usually slacks.
By comparison, Android took a hit early on and never recovered.
Does this mean the iPhone 5 is living up to its hype and people are willing to overlook the mapping glitch?