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ChangeWave Research, based in Rockville, Maryland, is an independent survey research boutique founded nine years ago. ChangeWave identifies and quantifies "change" in consumer spending behavior, corporate purchasing, industry and company trends. This is accomplished through a weekly... More
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  • Consumers Give High Marks to Android OS and Motorola Droid

    By Paul Carton and Jean Crumrine

    Recent ChangeWave surveys have shown a huge spike in consumer demand for smart phones using the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system.

    Among the most immediate beneficiaries are the Motorola (MOT) Droid and a handful of HTC smart phones that use the Android OS. But how do these owners rate their new Android phones?

    To find out, we conducted a survey of 91 Motorola Droid owners and – for comparative purposes – 49 HTC smart phone owners. Here’s what we found:

    In a highly encouraging finding for the Android operating system, two-thirds (66%) of Motorola Droid and HTC Android smart phone respondents reported that they’re Very Satisfied with the Android OS. Another 27% said they're Somewhat Satisfied.

    How does this compare to other widely used mobile operating systems? The following chart shows how the Very Satisfied rating for the Android OS stacks up against those of other mobile operating systems from a December 2009 ChangeWave survey:

    Second only to the industry leading iPhone OS (77% Very Satisfied), our survey results show the Google Android OS (66%) ranking above the Palm Web OS (58%) and well ahead of the RIM OS (41%) and Windows Mobile (25%).

    A Closer Look at Motorola Droid and HTC Android Owners

    The Motorola (MOT) Droid stands out as the biggest and most immediate beneficiary of the overall spike in demand for smart phones using the Android OS.

    We note that back in our December survey, Motorola (13%) registered a huge 12-pt jump in future buying plans – its first increase in a ChangeWave consumer smart phone survey in three years.

    HTC – which has several new Android phones – also registered an uptick going forward (from 5% to 9%), although it wasn’t as dramatic as Motorola’s.

    In our current survey, we asked owners of the Motorola Droid, the HTC Droid Eris and the HTC G1 to rate their new phones.

    The following chart compares the Very Satisfied rating for each of these three phone models to previous ChangeWave survey ratings of the Apple iPhone 3GS and the Palm Pre.

    In sum, better than three-in-four (78%) Motorola Droid owners reported they were Very Satisfied with their Motorola Droid (and another 19% said they were Somewhat Satisfied, for a combined 97% satisfaction rating).

    In comparison, half of HTC Droid Eris (50%) and HTC Google G1 (50%) owners reported they were Very Satisfied with their phone, as did 45% of Palm Pre owners. Importantly, all of the above models scored well above industry averages.

    To put this in perspective, the current Motorola Droid satisfaction rating ranks second only to the number one rated phone in the industry – the Apple iPhone 3GS (80%).

    So what is it about the Motorola Droid that has its owners giving such highly favorable ratings?

    First and foremost is the Android OS itself – cited by nearly half of Droid owners (45%) as the main overall reason for why they decided to purchase their new smart phone. Another 36% cited the fact of Verizon being the service provider as their main reason for buying the Droid.

    A Nexus One Counterattack?

    Of course, Google hasn’t sat idly by while Motorola capitalizes on Android demand. On January 5th they introduced their own Android smart phone, the Nexus One, featuring the new Android 2.1 OS, among other things.

    To test the potential impact of the Nexus One, we asked Motorola Droid owners whether they would have still purchased their Droid phone if the Google Nexus One had also been available on Verizon at the time of their purchase.

    By a better than two-to-one margin (32% Motorola Droid vs. 13% Google Nexus One) current Droid Owners said they’d have bought their Motorola Droid even if the Google Nexus One had been available on Verizon at the time of purchase. (The remaining 55% answered Don’t Know.)

    We asked a similar question of current HTC smart phone owners, but the head to head match-up with the Nexus One produced quite different results.

    Only 14% of current HTC smart phone owners say they’d have purchased the same phone, versus 45% who say they’d have purchased the Google Nexus One if it had been available from their service provider.

    Bottom Line: The Motorola Droid stands out as the biggest and most immediate beneficiary of the growing wave of Android demand. It has been several years since the last time a Motorola phone had real market leading momentum, but the Droid is clearly outperforming at present and its customer satisfaction ranks second only to the Apple iPhone 3GS.

    The big question is whether Motorola can maintain its momentum even as several new Android phones – including the Google Nexus One – hit the market. So far, at least, the answer has been a resounding yes. The survey results show the Droid has what it takes to succeed – as long as Motorola can avoid its mistakes of the past.

    Disclosure: No Positions
    Mar 18 3:25 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Uptick in Overall Consumer Spending - Electronics Continues to Surge

    By Paul Carton

    A December ChangeWave survey of 2,690 U.S. consumers shows the overall spending outlook continuing to improve, led by a surge of momentum in consumer electronics spending for the holidays.

    One-in-four U.S. consumers (25%) now say they'll spend more over the next 90 days than they did a year ago – up 2-pts since the previous survey in November. While 37% say they’ll spend less – that’s unchanged from previously.

    Consumer Electronics is showing far greater momentum than it did a year ago – with 29% now saying they’ll spend more on electronics over the next 90 days and just 31% less.

    That’s a net 4-pt jump from a month ago, and a huge 18-pt improvement over the holiday season of a year ago.

    Importantly, we’re seeing a rise in planned PC buying among consumers, with 10% planning to buy a laptop in the next 90 days and 7% a desktop – each up a full point since our previous survey in October.

    We note that this is the highest level of PC buying since the 2007 holiday season.

    In terms of other electronics, our November survey found the Apple iPod (8%; up 3-pts) and the Amazon Kindle eReader (4%; up 1-pt) showing significant momentum compared to both the previous survey and to a year ago.

    The December 2-8 survey also shows a further uptick in online shopping since the past month and an enormous increase compared to a year ago – adding to the huge holiday swell for Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) that we initially picked up in our November survey.

    We asked respondents to tell us which types of stores they’ll be spending more or less gift money at this holiday season compared to last year’s. There were three big winners, and the following chart points out how different this year is from last year:

    The huge leap in Online Shopping (Change in Net Difference Score = +26) emphasizes how big of a momentum winner it is for this holiday season. Electronics Retailers (+17) and Discount Stores (+9) are also showing major improvements from a year ago.

    An Amazon Holiday Season

    In our previous survey in November, we asked respondents where they’d be spending their online shopping dollars for the next 90 days – and the findings pointed to a historic blowout win for Amazon this holiday season.

    Not only is Amazon showing the most momentum among all online retailers, but its huge 8-pt jump since August represents the largest improvement ever recorded in online spending in a ChangeWave survey.

    For December, Amazon is also showing explosive momentum in the home entertainment shopping market. Better than one-in-three respondents (36%) now say they’ll shop there for home entertainment and computer networking products over the next 90 days – a 5-pt surge since November and the highest level for Amazon in more than 3 years.

    Industry leader Best Buy (BBY; 44%; up 2-pts) and Apple (AAPL; 12%; up 1-pt) are also registering upticks in market share in the current survey.

    In the aftermath of the spending increases we recorded last month for Costco (NASDAQ:COST), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), and Target (NYSE:TGT), the major discounters and wholesale clubs have continued to show high levels of spending for December. Each remains at their highest recorded level of the past year.

    The ChangeWave survey has also picked up an improvement in consumer sentiment and expectations. In a nutshell, the overall 90 day outlook is as positive and hopeful as any we’ve witnessed of the past two years.

    Jean Crumrine co-wrote this article.

    Disclosure: No Positions
    Dec 31 12:20 PM | Link | Comment!
  • U.S. Consumer Spending Holds Steady in October - Key Retailers Showing Improvement

    By Paul Carton

    Following two consecutive monthly improvements, ChangeWave’s latest survey of U.S. consumers shows the spending outlook holding steady in October.

    One-in-four U.S. consumers (25%) now say they'll spend more over the next 90 days than they did a year ago – down 1-pt since the previous survey in September. But while two-in-five (40%) say they’ll spend less – that’s actually 1-pt improved from previously.

    In short, overall spending among consumers continues to remain at the highest level in a ChangeWave survey since May 2008 – but has not improved since our previous survey in September.

    Importantly, the October 1-12 survey of 2,731 U.S. consumers also points to a spending uptick for a handful of major retailers as we approach the holiday season.

    The encouraging findings are led by a significant pickup in momentum for Macy’s (M; +3) and signs of improvement for Target (TGT; +2), Costco (COST; +1) and BJ's Wholesale Club (BJ; +1).

    On the entertainment front, once again Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) shows the most momentum, with 28% saying they’ll be shopping at Amazon for home entertainment and computer networking products over the next 90 days – a 2-pt jump since September and equaling the highest level ever recorded for the online retailer in a ChangeWave survey.

    Industry leader Best Buy (BBY; 42%) is also up 2-pts from previously, but continues to remain below its levels of a year ago.

    While most overall spending categories remain unchanged and some have even registered a pullback, there is one category in particular that shows improvement:

    Restaurant spending is continuing to creep up – with 12% of respondents now saying they’ll spend more over the next 90 days compared to 33% less – a net 4-pt jump since September and our best reading in 15 months.

    Overall Consumer Electronics spending has also registered a very slight improvement.

    On the downside, Automobile spending has dropped right back to the levels we saw before the hugely popular ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program was announced this past summer.

    Lower Consumer Sentiment and Expectations

    Counterbalancing the above findings, for the second month in a row we’re finding a worsening in consumer sentiment and expectations.

    Well over a third (35%) now thinks the overall direction of the U.S. economy is going to worsen over the next 90 days – a 1-pt drop since September. Only 24% believe it will improve – 3-pts worse than previously.

    In a sign of weaker consumer confidence, only 25% say they are More Confident in the U.S. stock market than they were 90 days ago and 34% say they’re Less Confident – a net 5-pts worse than a month ago.

    Other consumer sentiment indicators echo these findings:

    • Three-in-ten report they worry A Great Deal (9%) or Quite A Bit (21%) about someone in their family losing their job – 1-pt worse than our September survey.
    • Just 6% say they’re very satisfied with the current state of their personal finances, unchanged from the previous survey.

    Jean Crumrine co-wrote this article

    Oct 26 11:54 AM | Link | Comment!
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