Study: iPhone price drop attracts college students

Market research firm SurveyU announced Thursday that Apple’s decision to drop the price of its 8GB iPhone from $599 to $399 has dramatically increased demand for the device from college students in the U.S.

The company has been tracking students’ feelings about the iPhone since May. SurveyU conducted a “flash poll” of 1,000 students on the evening of Sep. 5, hours after Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that the 8GB iPhone would drop in price by $200.

It’s no secret that most college students are constantly strapped for cash, so the pricing news was welcome. The importance of price in wanting the iPhone umped from from 80 percent in June, July and August to 90 percent in the flash poll.

“College students have seen how the iPhone performs and with this reduction, sales among college students will see a solid bump with an even bigger jump upon the next release,” said Dan Coates, co-founder of SurveyU.

Despite the public backlash from early iPhone adopters at Apple for dropping the price — apparently widespread enough to cause Apple CEO Steve Jobs to promise them a $100 credit good for use at Apple’s retail and online stores — students polled by SurveyU (before Apple’s $100 credit plan was announced) by and large weren’t bitter about the price drop.

“Using a five point scales wherein students indicated their agreement with two, diametrically opposed statements, non-purchasers tended slightly toward supporting Apple and their decision while purchasers tended only slightly towards reprimanding Apple for the sudden and dramatic price shift,” said the company.

The most dramatic increase in student buying trends reported by SurveyU involves students who plan to purchase an iPhone when their contract expires. That increased from 4 percent in August to 11 percent on Sep. 5. The number of students polled who plan to get an iPhone “within a few months” doubled from 2 percent to 4 percent, and those who expressed “immediate intent” to buy the iPhone increased from 0 percent to 0.5 percent.

Students were polled online between 4:00 PM Eastern on Wed., Sep. 5 and 10:00 AM Eastern on Thurs., Sep. 6, 2007. Results were weighted to reflect the demographic composition of college students nationwide according to statistics published by the National Center for Educational Statistics.

This story, "Study: iPhone price drop attracts college students" was originally published by PCWorld.

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