The iPhone 5S is still a hot item on the shopping list of many smartphone buyers, according to a new survey.
Among the 1,003 consumers polled last week by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, 33 percent of those who plan to buy a smartphone expect to snag an iPhone 5S. That percentage is down only slightly from the 35 percent eyeing a 5S in December 2013 and the 38 percent right after the new model debuted last September.
"The main takeaway from our most recent smartphone purchase intent survey is that the iPhone 5S seems to have staying power," Munster said. "We believe this is an indication that Apple's position as top player in the high end smartphone market remains secure; however, the downside is that the US smartphone market is rather mature, which is implied in."
In contrast, the iPhone 5C appears to be "fading from its already lower position in consumers' minds," Munster said. Among the smartphone buyers surveyed, only 6 percent have a 5C in their sights, down from 9 percent in December.
Munster threw out two reasons for the 5C's fading demand.
"First, we believe there is a significant value increase in purchasing the 5S (Touch ID, A7 chip) vs the 5C and consumers recognize this as well," the analyst said. "Second, we believe that the concept around colors as a unique selling point has not worked as well as it had with iPods because a significant number of smartphone users cover their smartphones with cases, which was typically not the trend for iPod owners."
Overall, 39 percent of the smartphone shoppers said they planned to purchase an iPhone in general, compared with 44 percent in December and 50 percent in September. Munster predicts Apple will sell 37.5 million iPhones during the current quarter, barely inching past the 37.4 million sold over the same quarter last year.
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