A new survey suggests that demand for Apple products going into the new year is going to be a lot higher than expected, and that 2012 could see the sales of iPhones and iPads breaking records for the company.
The survey comes from market research group Alphawise on behalf of Morgan Stanley. The results suggest that instead of a decline in demand of 7 percent (like Morgan Stanley had thought), 2012 may, in fact, see 40 percent more shipments for Apple than previously expected.
Apple Insider has the story, in which Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty said, “survey results and recent comments by AT&T indicate Apple iPhone shipments could reach 31-36 million in the calendar Q4 2011, compared to our model of 30 million.”
Morgan Stanley also seems to have underestimated Apple’s first-quarter 2012 sales, the survey suggests. The analysts expected 28 million iPhone sales in that quarter; Alphawise puts the number closer to 41 million. What’s more, the survey found that more smartphone buyers are saying they plan to purchase an iPhone than before. Thirty percent of respondents (I couldn’t seem to run down exactly how many people responded to this survey) said they would be looking to buy an iPhone as their next device in 2010, up from just 16 percent of the market that actually owns one right now.
More buyers are looking toward the tablet market, as well, which Huberty suggests will have a big impact on iPad sales in 2012. The install base for the iPad, the slice of the population that already owns one, is roughly 8 percent of survey respondents – but the people who responded that they were interested in buying a tablet was triple that, nearly 27 percent.
Based on the survey information, Morgan Stanley thinks Apple could ship as many as 190 million iPhones and 82 million iPads if demand stays steady. That’s way up from the 52 million iPads and 134 million iPhones it originally estimated.
It’s important to note that all these numbers mean almost nothing, even if they are compelling. What people say they’re going to do and what they actually do are two different things, and all kinds of factors, from the economy to the release of Android tablets and smartphones, could have an impact on what the demand for Apple’s products are like in 2012. But the survey does suggest that, despite the expanding popularity of the Android platform, Apple’s products are keeping pace just as well.
The success of the iPhone 4S backs up the idea that Apple’s popularity is increasing and the hype around its devices – and the demand to have them – is only getting bigger. If demand really is this high for Apple’s upcoming devices in 2012, Apple will have a big burden to keep them in stock, something it has struggled with pretty much since the inception of the iPhone and the iPad. All this increased demand is great, unless Apple doesn’t have enough devices to sell.