Mobile Brand Loyalty

A survey by Piper Jaffray yesterday reveals that most early iPhone 4 buyers were upgrading from previous iPhones — and remaining loyal to Apple — and that very few were switching to AT&T from other carriers.

Specifically, here are highlights from Piper analyst Gene Munster’s note this morning:

  • 77% of iPhone 4 buyers polled in three cities (San Francisco, New York, and Minneapolis) were upgrading from old iPhones. That’s up from 56% last year and 38% in 2008, and represents brand loyalty that is likely unmatched in the mobile industry.
  • 16% of buyers were switching to AT&T from other carriers, down from 28% last year. Apple REALLY needs to add another carrier if it wants to maximize sales. (Preferably Verizon Wireless, the nation’s biggest.)
  • 54% purchased the $299 32 GB model, up from 43% who bought the 32 GB iPhone 3GS last year.
  • 28% of iPhone 4 buyers owned an iPad, which confirms that the people waiting in line were the most serious of the Apple fanatics. Of the 72% who did not own an iPad, 39% said they would probably buy one within the next year, while 61% said they would not.
  • 65% were Mac owners, down from 75% at the first iPhone launch in 2007.

The takeaway: Apple has a reliable stable of devoted users who will likely upgrade to the newest iPhone every year, assuming there’s nothing better on the market.