If we can learn anything from the frenzy around the launch of the iPhone 4 over a year ago, it is how far some people are willing to stretch their wallets to get their hands on the latest Apple gadget as early as possible, setting the expectations of what is to come when Apple finally launches the iPhone 5.
Image source: majzel.blogspot.com
A recent research report by Professor Michael Watterson at the University of Warwick suggest that some people are willing to pay a hefty premium to be amongst the first to own the latest Apple iPhone, paying up to three times the actual price through sources such as Ebay auctions. The report analyses the listing and purchase trends for the iPhone 4 on Ebay during a 6 week period following launch of the device in the UK, highlighting a massive interest for the device that saw limited stock availability in the first few weeks following launch.
With all rumors indicating an iPhone 5 launch in early October of this year, following no normal June upgrade for the popular handset this year, expectations are that demand will once again outperform supply in the early stages of launch. Even if Apple could keep supply in line with demand it is likely in their best interest to actually keep people wanting the device, making the early buyers feels like they are special to have gotten their hands on it as early as possible. Apple has always been very clever in how they manage the launch process of their products, letting anticipation build organically without commenting on rumors, and managing supply and demand to optimize the interest around their products.
Whilst this paper looked at revelations of information on consumer valuations of a product (iPhone 4) and possible business implications, it did not look at the driving consumer behaviour factors behind the demand for the Apple iPhone and the characteristics of the people that were willing to pay such a high premium to get their hands on the iPhone 4 as early as possible. Are they the traditional Apple Fanboys, or are they driven by entirely different motives?
If you are among the many that would be willing to pay a premium to get your hands on the iPhone 5 as early as possible, or amongst those that paid a bit extra for the iPhone 4 when it was released last year, i would love to hear more about the motivation behind it, so please leave a comment below.