Samsung Asks: Why Do So Many People Wait In Line for iPhones

September 21, 2013 - Written By Lucian Armasu

Samsung has been trying to beat Apple at its own game for a long time now, and in some ways they’ve succeeded (more market share), but in others such as brand loyalty and getting people so excited as to stay hours at a time in line for the new device, they still have a lot to learn from Apple. That’s why they’ve now sent a crew of videographers to find out what’s going on and why do these people always stay in line for a new iPhone?

“Other companies release new phones, but there’s not as much passion and heat (from buyers),” a Korea-based producer from Samsung Broadcasting Center/Cheil Worldwide, who asked not to be named. “It’s only Apple. Why? We’re curious.

Samsung will then use the video internally so the executives can understand why people are so passionate about the new iPhones, and try to replicate that with their own marketing campaigns. But I believe they’re going to have their work cut out for them.

Besides the fact that Apple has always had very passionate and loyal customers, because of their strong belief in making high-quality and beautiful devices, it’s important to remember that Apple did revolutionize the smartphone market, and changed the game to such a degree that everyone else had to follow them and make touchscreen phones, that work more or less the same.

When the iPhone launched, it was very exciting because everything was so new, and people had pretty good reason to stay in line. But everything else after that has been Apple being very masterful at creating buzz about their new iPhones, and also artificial scarcity.

I really don’t buy the idea that year after year Apple “fails to predict the demand” of the new iPhones. If one year you have 2 million units sold on launch weekend, then the next 3 million, and the next 4 million, how hard would it really be to predict you’re going to need at least 5 million for the next one? My guess is it’s not that hard.

I also believe Apple has extremely accurate internal predictions. I remember back in 2007, they predicted the iPhone demand for the whole year almost exactly, and that was for a totally new type of phone, and Apple’s first phone ever. Something like that is usually almost impossible to predict by any other company, and yet Apple got extremely close to predicting how many they would sell that year.

In the following years, it can only get easier, since the company should know exactly what to expect for growth, depending on how in many other countries they launch, how much money they spend on marketing and so on. Yet for some reason they still give us this excuse that they “failed to predict the demand” for the new iPhone, which I don’t believe. They’re obviously doing it on purpose at this point, to give people the feeling that the new iPhone is in such high-demand that it sells out almost immediately.

That’s one way to get people to wait in line for it, but there’s also the fact that many of these people have gotten used to doing it. It’s like a tradition for them at this point. It’s like going camping (which some of them actually do at the Apple stores – camp there from the night before).

It’s going to be very hard for Samsung to replicate some of this stuff. They can use the artificial scarcity tactic, but it will be a lot harder to replicate the “tradition” thing. They can certainly try, though. But to do that much more easily, they need to start making beautifully designed and high-quality hardware, too, because that’s a huge reason for why so many people fall in love with the new iPhones, and so far Samsung hasn’t been that impressive in that regard.