Android users are losing interest in iPhones, survey claims

Perhaps everybody is waiting for iPhone 8?

The latest Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) survey results show that Apple’s iPhone 7 series smartphones are doing almost as well as the previous generation, except in one key metric: Android users aren’t switching to them as frequently.

Though they are still switching

The statistics claim around 26 percent of iPhone 6S series smartphones switched over from Android last time round, but this has fallen to around 10 percent with Apple’s latest model.

This might represent a cooling of interest in iPhones among curious Android users, but I’d speculate it instead represents an intensification of interest in Apple’s next iPhone, given the hype surrounding the tenth-anniversary release.

“We see very strong iPhone loyalty, and conversely continued lower switching from Android phones,” said CIRP co-founder, Josh Lowitz. “With only 10 percent of 7 and 7 Plus buyers switching from an Android phone, now 3-6 months after the launch of those models in September 2016, we see how the premiere iPhone models sell mostly to the installed base of iPhone owners.

"The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus models have a higher percentage of Android switchers, and the entry level iPhone SE also brings in first-time smartphone buyers.”

This might provide a little reassurance to Android device manufacturers, who find it incredibly hard to make any money out of the millions of units they are shifting, and have scant after-sales service income to buoy their efforts.

Apple, meanwhile, seems to be facing weakness in some markets (particularly China), but its services income and comfortable ASP means its business remains sustainable, reading between the lines of recent figures from Gfk, Canalsys and others.

Some iPhone statistics

I’m not completely convinced by CIRP’s data as it’s based on a survey across just 500 iPhone users, but I have seen the data as quite a good barometer of switching habits in previous years. With that caveat, CIRP makes some interesting claims:

  • Apple is selling iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in around the same quantities.
  • The two new models accounted for 68 percent of U.S. iPhone sales this for the April 1 quarter.
  • Sales of older models accounted for the highest percentage of iPhone sales since 2014.
  • 15 percent upgraded from iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.

The research also claim 41 percent upgraded from the two-year-old iPhone 6 and 6 Plus (that contrasts to a 49 percent this time last year -- does this also mean people are hanging on for iPhone 8?) Anecdotal evidence that this may be the case came when Samsung beat Apple in sales.

Apple intelligence

Pointing out the success of the premium model, CIRP co-founder, Mike Levin said:

“Consumers have signaled a willingness to… purchase a more expense, larger model, which also helps Apple’s iPhone average selling price (ASP).”

I’ll add that if speculation Apple plans a $1,000 iPhone 8 is borne out, then we may well see a combination of interest, pent-up demand and brand loyalty make a success of the scheme.

That interest is shifting to the next iPhone is confirmed by a few more data points.

JP Morgan recently warned Apple’s June investor guidance may be “below expectations” as iPhone sales slow in anticipation of the next model, and this market flatness is likely to impact other smartphone vendors as they feel the impact of such consumer focus.

If wishes were stars

We don’t know for sure if we have any better reason than usual to look forward to the next Apple release.

With VR as the killer app, watching the ebb and flow in the sea of rumor, we might have two or three models to look forward to, may see the high-end device delayed for weeks, and may, or may not, see Apple introduce OLED screens, wireless charging, and a radical new design, including a hidden Home button, better cameras, much faster processor and much more.

Apple must be hoping the new releases will stimulate interest in its now veteran iPhone products, while manufacturers from the Android assimilations will be hoping the company fails to live up to the hype.

Expect a slow smartphone summer while we wait to see the impact of the new device.

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