- An Approach through Consumer Behavior Concepts -
In the recent times, there has been an explosive growth in the general interest in smartphones. In the perspective of an iPhone, ever since its’ innovative product launch, not more than a year ago, the number of subscribers in Korea has seen a dramatic increase to a whopping 1,620,000 users. Such market phenomenon has even been brought about of coining a word, “homo mobilicus,” meaning a person, regardless of age, can not live without their smartphones. That was only but a beginning as more of Apple’s iPhone lineage of products came into being, more words started being born. For example, the word, “iPhone” and the word “Maniac” was mingled to form, a group of loyals who eagerly awaited the initial release of the product by waiting at an elongated line at New York’s Apple store on June of 2007. What is very interesting is that even the act of waiting for the iPhone was given a new word, “iWait.” All of this started when Steve Jobs, the very mastermind behind the iPhone project gave a presentation infront of the world on the said product, which was an innovative revolution at it’s best.
“So, why are consumers so blindingly infatuated with iPhone?” According to a reliable source, the world’s reported population of smartphone users in 2010 counted a monstrous 286,000,000. What one must realize is that just a mere 4 years ago, the number only had a count of 81,000,000 in 2006. It is crystal clear from this observation alone that we can safely assume that within the next few years, smartphone will be every where. Many of the world’s leading IT and telecommunication companies have been struggling to release newer and more updated smartphones by the seconds, and even within Korea, major companies like Samsung and LG has been researching and developing newer smartphones as well. It can be inferred that such spur in the developments have been promoted with the iPhone. However, with the dominance of iPhone in not only the market share of the smart phones, but also in consumer recognition aptitude, while other companies are struggling to catch up to iPhone’s prowess as the later started competition intrigued our group’s primary interests. And then during our preliminary research stages, we have further found out that KT, one of the three major telecommunication company in Korea, is sharing the same fate of iPhone’s success. The rate of telecommunication company transfer has exploded to a 58% on the month of iPhone’s release. What is interesting to note is that KT’s primary rival, the SKT is known for it’s solid loyal customers who has stayed with them for a very long time (VIP strategy), however, the ratio of 58% is more than double that of KT customers switching to SKT. So, we were wondering, why would customers go through so much trouble of forfeiting many of their rights as VIP customers in SKT and going through the long tedious process of signing up as a new customer to KTF, which was all due to iPhone. What is it that makes these consumers craze about iPhone? We have decided to take the explanation through an approach using consumer behavior’s theories and concepts in mind.
The release of iPhone in the Korean market since end of last year, it has scored remarkable sales records. Ever since KT launched the iPhone, it only took about 4 months for them to score a sales of 502,553 units in the Korean market. This is the shortest and the greatest record of sales for ANY smartphones released in the Korean market to date. Since it’s release in November 28th of last year, on average of 4,000 plus alpha number of consumers have purchased iPhone each day! Mr. Pyo, Hyun-Myung, KT’s individual customer manage has stated, “of the 88 countries that have launched iPhone, there are only 7 countries that took less then a year to sell 500,000 units (including United...