|Apple CEO Tim Cook.|
A new AlphaWise survey found that 92% of surveyed iPhone owners "somewhat or extremely likely" to upgrade in the next 12 months plan to stick with the Apple brand, according to a Morgan Stanley note.
That led the rest of the field by a wide margin as Samsung (77%), LG (59%), Motorola (56%), and Nokia (42%) all lagged behind.
Morgan Stanley analysts' raised their Apple stock — currently $150.50 per share — price target from $161 to $177 as the survey only served to strengthen their already bullish view on Apple's 2018 outlook. The new target price represents an 18% premium to the current stock price.
"We model FY18 revenue and EPS 10-11% above consensus and see positive estimate revisions over the next two quarters driving shares higher," said Morgan Stanley equity analyst Katy Huberty. "The upside implied by the new survey data makes even our above consensus estimates look conservative."
Apple has seen iPhone sales dip recently as the company narrowly missed Wall Street expectations for iPhone sales last quarter. But Apple CEO Tim Cook's take was that iPhone 8 anticipation was to blame.
"We're seeing what we believe to be a pause in purchases of iPhone, which we believe is due to the earlier and much more frequent reports about future iPhones," Cook said during the company's second-quarter earnings call.
With an estimated 79% of the US smartphone market being controlled by Apple and Samsung, the window to win over rival customers is narrowing. But if 92% of upgrading iPhone customers do indeed stick with Apple and Tim Cook is proven to be right, that won't be too much of an issue.