By Gene Munster and Will Thompson of Loup Ventures
Heading into next month’s iPhone announcement, we surveyed 530 U.S. consumers regarding their intent to purchase the upcoming phones. Our survey suggests demand for the next iPhone cycle will slightly outpace investor expectations. The survey supports our modeling, which calls for 3% iPhone unit growth in FY19 vs. Street expectations of flat (0%) unit growth.
- This survey showed a surprisingly high intent to upgrade, suggesting 48% of current iPhones owners intent to upgrade to a newer iPhone in the next year, compared to 25% in June of last year.
- This 48% is an outlier, and therefore should be tempered (intent to buy vs. actual purchase conversion varies cycle to cycle), but the survey is nonetheless a positive indicator of upcoming iPhone demand.
- 19% of Android users surveyed indicated they plan on switching to an iPhone in the next year, compared to 12% last year.
- Survey’s bottom line: there is greater interest in this upcoming iPhone cycle than we had anticipated.
The Bigger Picture
iPhone is entering a period of stability (0% to 5% unit growth for the next several years) driven by 805m+ active iPhones with a high (90%) retention rate. Assuming a 3.5-year upgrade cycle and a 90% retention rate implies 207m iPhones sold each year, slightly below the Streets 219m expected in FY18 and FY19.
Of those that plan on buying an iPhone, 42% of them plan on buying one of the three to be announced this fall, 18% iPhone X, 16% iPhone 8, and 24% another iPhone.
Further, of the 530 respondents, 212 (40%) were Android users. Of the Android group, 41 (19%) intended to buy an iPhone in the next year. This compares to 12% of Android users planning to make the switch last year.
Slight Increase in AR Interest
We also asked if the respondent would have more, less, or unchanged interest in buying a phone that had more powerful augmented reality capabilities. This time, 32% of respondents said they would be more interested, compared to 21% when we asked the same question in September of 2017. While the most common answer is still “unchanged,” the uptick in interest reflects the slow but steady progression of mobile AR’s importance.
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