US iPhone Users Keep Device Active for 18 Months, Says Strategy Analytics

Apple leads at 18 months with US Smartphone Replacement Cycle, which reaches 33 months, as per Strategy Analytics. Strong interest observed in 5G innovation found by the research.

The average Apple smartphone user keeps his device active for 18 months while it is 16.5 months for Samsung, says the latest Strategy Analytics (SA) research.

Titled ‘US Smartphone Replacement and Brand Dynamics’ the Strategy Analytics research covered a wide 2500 American audience profile in the age group 18-65. It included Hispanics, Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z, Baby Boomers, Price Paid Current Smartphone, Replacement Cycle, among others.

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Wait for Upgrade Increases iPhone Replacement Cycle

The research highlights that an Apple iPhone user typically uses his device for 18 months; outstripping Samsung smartphone user who uses for his device only for 16.5 months duration.

Hence, upgrade time for Apple iPhone is longest, giving it highest user duration as found in the research.

On our news blog, a report stated that very low awareness was found in Americans for refurbished iPhones. This ideally matches on the length of the replacement of Apple iPhones by its users usually, resulting in longer usage before the upgrade to a new one.

David Kerr, Senior Vice President at Strategy Analytics, notes in the release,

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“Operators and device brands face significant inertia given consumer perception of diminishing innovation or marginal value add in successive generations of flagship devices. At the same time vendor pursuit of profitability has seen smartphone prices rising towards and above $1,000. Prices for 5G phones will be a key barrier despite 1 in 4 recognizing it as being important for their next device.”

Neither Features Nor 5G Innovation Impact Significantly Buying Preference

So, the attraction for premium smartphone ($1000 and above) segment for innovation and cursory feature additions, did not appeal many among those surveyed. Even 5G per se does not push the logic for buying the iPhone beyond the $1000 price point.

Linda Sui, Director at Strategy Analytics says, “Wow features are important for only 1 in 3 US buyers with Hispanic and African Americans most interested as well as Gen Z. Premium customers spending $1000+ are naturally most desiring of wow features as well as new network technology but these represent only 7% of those surveyed.”

So, it does not ideally excite many beyond Hispanic and African Americans plus Gen Z as one may infer from the information shared. Another significant research find was one in five Caucasians plan to retain their phones for 3 years or more, while Baby Boomers were increasingly delaying their smartphone purchase for 3 years+.

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Apple and Samsung Dominating US Smartphone Markets: Strategy Analytics

Other highlights from the research include:

  • Apple and Samsung are dominant with brand loyalty above 70% with a huge separation to second-tier vendors LG and Motorola with repeat purchase intentions below 50%
  • Apple Dominates Hispanic and Asian Markets with a market share above 50%
    Samsung leads in market share among Gen X but trails Apple by almost 40 points among Gen Z in terms of purchase intent.
  • Camera Features, Quality are significantly more important to women and Gen Z users.
  • Growing demand for better tools to Manage Time and Unplug from always-on is seen especially in Gen Y and Gen Z.
  • A small 7% audience profile (significantly, Gen Z included with a dash of Hispanics and African Americans) agreed to accept these innovations at a price.

To conclude, neither 5G and nor upgrade features like camera and quality will matter most American iPhone buyers. It is the price tag that will play a decisive role indicating buying preference as is evident in this research, for now.

Suraj Padmasali
Suraj is a digital marketing expert on the iGB's team. He contributes to the social media section along with tips and tricks for iPhone, Apple Watch. Apart from blogging, he likes to work out as much as he can in his gym and love to listening to retro music.
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