comScore: iPhone launch stole attention from Pre

Mon, 07/20/2009 - 8:10am
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

The launch of the iPhone OS 3.0 and the 3GS appear to have drawn consumer interest away from the Palm Pre, according to an analysis of online trends conducted by market research firm comScore.

The firm found that the number of people searching for the Palm Pre online dropped by almost half in the last two weeks in June from its peak earlier in the month, a decline that corresponded to the launch of Apple’s competing device.

“Interestingly, this decline in Palm Pre search activity coincided with the launch of the Apple iPhone OS 3.0 on June 17 and launch of the iPhone 3GS two days later,” said the firm in its report.

In the week prior to the launch of the 3GS, the number of iPhone searchers more than doubled to 2.3 million people. In contrast, the number of searchers for the Palm Pre hit 361,000 on June 14 and fell off to 183,000 by the next week.

The firm also reported that the Palm Pre appeared to resonate with a different audience than those interested in the iPhone. Of the people who searched for Palm Pre-related terms during the eight weeks of the study, just 11 percent also searched on iPhone-related terms, suggesting that the majority of the people interested in the Pre have little interest in the iPhone, said comScore.

Though official figures have not been released, it has been estimated that Sprint sold 150,000 of the units shortly after it launched, with that figure currently estimated to be more than 300,000. Sales of the iPhone 3GS hit 1 million in its launch weekend.

Although the iPhone took some of the wind out of Palm’s sails, comScore said the campaign was effective in generating early interest in the device. The firm said that buzz surrounding the Palm Pre began building up in earnest during late May with the launch of Sprint's "Now Network" ad campaign.

The campaign, which won the top award at the 56th Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival (IAF), ran in print, television and online.

One of the more unique aspects of the digital ad campaign was a homepage takeover in late May. The ad, dubbed the "Human Clock," featured an assortment of user-submitted videos. For instance, at 11:14, the "Human Clock" ad would display four different videos of people displaying the 1’s and 4's needed to represent the time, similar to a digital clock.

Of about 13 million people exposed to Sprint’s "Human Clock" campaign on, 37 percent were female and 63 percent were male, a highly coveted demographic for the consumer electronics market. In addition, 37 percent of those who saw the campaign were 18 to 24 years old, 16 percent were 25 to 34 years old and 29 percent were 35 to 44 years old.

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•  comScore: iPhone launch stole attention from Pre
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