12% of how many?


In this brief article from Business Insider called More people already want Apple AirPods than the Apple Watch the author writes:

12% of U.S. consumers surveyed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch say they intend to purchase AirPods, apparently on the strength of Apple’s marketing, given that few people have actually seen and tried them out.

This is a very bullish sign for Apple, says BAML. “12% of the US installed base could lead to up to an incremental $3bn in revenue,” writes [sic] the analysts.

I was made aware of it via John Gruber, who comments:

Not 12 percent of iPhone owners. 12 percent of consumers. For a product that Apple has merely announced, but not yet even started advertising. That’s huge. It’s just a survey, so take it with a grain of salt […]

Actually, it’s “12 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch”. The survey report, as far as I know, can’t be accessed directly online. From what I gathered visiting the Bank of America Merrill Lynch website, you can access the research library through an iOS app, but you must be logged in as a client (correct me if I’m wrong).

It would be nice to know how many U.S. consumers were surveyed. Two hundred? Two thousands? Two hundred thousands? Even if we consider a sample of two million consumers, 12 percent is 240,000 people. Not an insignificant number, but not something I’d call ‘huge’ either. To me, this piece of news and its statistics don’t make much sense if that 12 percent isn’t properly put in context. How many consumers were surveyed in the first place?



Edited to add: Good points made by Michael Rockwell and Luca Soldaini on Twitter. Rockwell says: “Also, what people say they plan on purchasing and what they actually purchase is usually very different.” Soldaini makes a similar remark and adds: “For example, I’d love to know how many knew the price of the AirPods before answering!”

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