iPhone Owners Keep Phones Longer than Android Owners
Last week, we showed that iPhones represent a smaller but modestly growing share of US smartphone sales. We of course read the online discussion of that data, including disbelief that Apple could sell fewer phones in the US than their combined Android competitors. We think there was confusion between smartphone sales and installed bases, in addition to some loyal iPhone owners rallying behind the “home team”.
We think exploring how long iPhone and Android smartphone owners keep their phones explains some of the confusion. Usage data suggests the active US installed bases of iPhones and Android phones is relatively even. Thus, if iPhone owners keep their phones longer, they buy them less frequently, leading to a smaller share of quarterly and annual smartphone sales.
Indeed, our replacement data shows iPhone owners do keep their phones longer than Android owners. There are many possible explanations for the slower replacement cycle.
61% of iPhone buyers had their previous iPhone for two years or more, compared to 43% of Android owners (Chart 1). Far more iPhone owners (29%) owned their previous iPhone for three years or more than Android owners (21%).
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