Holiday Shoppers’ Favorite Smartphone is Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone 5: Analyst

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) introduced the iPhone 5 in September, and in the time since, analysts and investors alike have been trying to set proper sales targets for Cupertino’s fiscal first quarter. On average, consensus is expecting between 44 and 48 million total iPhone units to be sold over this period, 25-30% higher than one year earlier.

Should this Concern Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc (GOOG)?

As we’ve already discussed in this article, even though Apple’s proverbial smartphone pie has been increasing, the percentage of iPhone 5s that have been purchased is actually lower than where the iPhone 4S was at in 2011. More specifically, “the iPhone 5 accounted for 68 percent of total iPhone sales during its first month at market — significantly less than the iPhone 4S, which accounted for 90 percent of all iPhone sales during its first month of retail availability,” according to a report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

With this in mind, it would be reasonable to expect that consumers’ preference for the iPhone 5 versus other competitors has decreased as well, but a recent poll from Piper Jaffray indicates that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is still holiday shoppers’ top pick.

Originally reported by Barron’s, a poll of around 800 consumers who were planning on purchasing smartphones during the holiday season indicated that iPhone 5 demand “remains strong,” in the words of notable Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. The survey (taken on 12/12) from Munster and his team shows that 53.3% of pre-holiday shoppers polled plan to buy the iPhone 5, while 35.3% plan to buy an Android phone, 6.5% a Windows Phone, and 4.9% a Blackberry.

It’s interesting to note that in a separate poll taken on October 16th, preference for the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5 is a tick higher at 54.9%. In the two months since, most of this share has been given up to the Windows Phone, while preferences for the Android and Blackberry smartphones have remained rather constant.

According to Barron’s, Munster holds a $900 price target on Apple, and expects the company to sell 45 million total iPhones in Q1.

What are your thoughts on Piper Jaffray’s poll? Is the sample size too small, or too large, or does it provide an adequate representation of holiday smartphone shoppers? More importantly, what exactly should Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) investors make of this data?

From a surface-level standpoint, it’s encouraging that the iPhone 5 holds a lead over Android and the rest of its competitors, but it’s tough to gain any insights into what this may mean for total sales in Q1. After all, it’s this figure that investors will be paying the most attention to. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.