Yesterday marked a pretty big day for Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ), as customers could finally walk into a Verizon store and pick up an iPhone. Some analysts had expected to see some long lines, but they did not materialize, creating the impression that the launch was less than successful, but looks can be deceiving.
It is easy to understand where the confusion comes from. In the past, whenever Apple released a new iPhone we saw long lines and often not even supply to cover the launch date demand, resulting in long waits for eager iPhone fanatics to get their hands on the new smartphone.
We did not see such lines yesterday, and in most locations there were no lines at all! How could this be? The answer is not that Verizon customers did not want the phone, but instead that a huge number of customers had already pre-ordered the Verizon iPhone to avoid waiting in long lines, and it seems to have worked out perfectly.
While yesterday was the first official day you could pick up the iPhone, Verizon had a brief pre-order session on February 3 that lasted from 3am to 8:10pm, and it managed to sell out its inventory in that time frame.
Verizon did not release specific sales figures for February 3, but it did state that it was the "most successful first day sales in the history of the company."
Comscore, a company that does internet marketing research, stated that millions of visitors visited Verizon's website on the 3rd, with a pretty remarkable 39% of all visitors completing a pre-order transaction.
It is estimated that Verizon probably sold around 1 million iPhones during the launch, with many more sales coming on the horizon.
Extreme cold weather probably kept some potential buyers at home either waiting on the weather or simply opting to buy the phone online. There are also plenty of buyers out there that will just hold off and wait for a new iPhone to hit the market. Apple, Inc. (AAPL) has been pretty consistent in launching new versions of the iPhone in July, so there are probably a lot of Verizon customers holding off in hopes of getting the new phone when it becomes available.
Brian White, with Ticonderoga Securities, said in a note to clients that he thinks Verizon will activate over 13 million iPhones over the next 12 months, but also went on to say that his estimate could turn out to prove too conservative.
There are also a lot of potential customers that are going to wait a few weeks to read reviews of the device by other Verizon customers. Are you a Verizon customer that has switched to the iPhone? If so, please leave us your comments and let us hear your first impressions on the device on the Verizon network.