51% of iPhone users to buy a new iPhone this year, compared with 69% last year – survey

An annual survey by Piper Jaffray finds that the percentage of iPhone users willing to upgrade to new models this year declined from last year despite the lower average selling price.

Lauren Feiner for CNBC:

Buyer interest in Apple’s latest iPhone lineup is lower than last year despite a more affordable price, an annual survey by Piper Jaffray found.

While Apple’s new iPhone 11 starts at $699, $50 less than last year’s iPhone XR, customers may be holding out for 5G models that the company is reportedly preparing to release next year, according to a top analyst. The Piper Jaffray survey of more than 1,500 U.S. iPhone users found 51% of respondents said they would buy one of the new versions of the iPhone this year, compared with 69% last year after the release of the iPhone XR, XS and XS Max.

Sales this year will likely skew toward the lower-priced models, Piper Jaffray analysts said, but unit sales will remain relatively flat. The analysts predicted Apple’s fiscal year 2020 iPhone revenue will decline about 1% year over year.

To gauge interest in the 5G phone, Piper Jaffray asked about 1,050 current U.S. iPhone owners if they would upgrade to a 5G iPhone for $1,200. Of the respondents, 23% said they would. That’s up from 18% of respondents when Piper Jaffray asked the same question in June.

MacDailyNews Take: The jury’s still out on whether this is a placeholder year for iPhone ahead of the 5G iPhone super cycle. We’ve seen reports for higher-than-expected demand at launch for iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Max, but perhaps we were correct to prognosticate prior to the iPhones unveiling that this would be a “placeholder” year. We bet Apple has some tricks up their sleeve they plan to use to keep sales flowing until the 5G iPhone arrives (marketing, promotions, incentives, etc).

As we wrote in mid-August, “this year is a placeholder year for iPhone ahead of the 5G avalanche. We’re most interested in how Apple’s marketing apparatus will attempt to sell iPhones (think: Camera, Camera, Camera!) in a year where many of us with iPhone X/XS/XS Max units (and even older Home-button based iPhones) may simply be on a holding pattern until iPhone 5G.”

Of course, iPhone could have [no new features] and still sell 40+ million units every 90 days. And, also of course, Apple will have a new A13 that’s more efficient along with iOS 13 which will also improve efficiency, so better battery life is likely in the offing. New cameras, especially on the back, along with new features for Apple’s Camera app are a given and will be the major focus for selling these pre-5G placeholder iPhones to customers through fall 2020 when The Mother of All iPhone Upgrade Cycles™ finally hits! — MacDailyNews, August 18, 2019

8 Comments

  1. I’m surprised at these results. Both numbers seem really high. I would have thought that upgraders were in the 25% range.

    This survey is US only. So that counts for something. If they have been asking the same question every year this result is informative.

    If the installed base is close to a billion, then if 50% would upgrade that would be 500 million phones which is way high.

    iPhones have been selling at roughly 215 million a year, or about 20% of the WW installed base.

    Plus a lot of iPhones are sold to either first time users ( aka twelve year olds) or to Android users. That would imply that the upgrade rate should be roughly 15% or so. Just guessing.

    I’ll probably get an iPhone 11 Pro this year. I was going to wait till next year but I’d rather not have the first 5G phone. I’ll wait till the second or third year. Also, the cameras this year seem really good. I tried them out at an Apple store the other day. Awesome.

    1. To be as polite as possible, file this in the “People seldom do what they claim they will do” pile. Or more likely, PJ surveyed its friends who all make >$180k per year in the silicon valley and therefore get new phones whenever they are bored with last years color.

      Actual sales each year prove that a small fraction of worldwide buyers replace their phones as often as the online tech hype machine attempts to tell you.

  2. Count me in the 51%! Just got my iPhone 11 Pro Max 512 in the mail today. (Unfortunately, my kids’ iPhone 11 Pro’s are on back order until end of October.) I haven’t moved everything over yet but I’m liking what I’m using, but I’ll be honest, if I had an iPhone X or XS I might have skipped this year myself (I’m currently coming off of iPhone 8 Plus.) I am hoping this new unit gives me some longevity out of it as I will not be upgrading next year, unless 5G is a total game changer, which I don’t expect it to be right away. I can say one thing though, my new iPhone has been running very hot, right out of the box with very little load stress on the processor. I hope this doesn’t become a reoccurring issue with the Pros during this initial launch. Not looking forward to “heatgate.”

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