5s 5c banner

Before the iPhone 5s and 5c went on sale this fall, pundits predicted that Apple would have trouble attracting early upgraders with the two handsets. With them featuring few changes from last year’s model, the consensus was that most iPhone 5 owners would skip this generation.

And this week, the folks over at Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (or CIRP) have published a report that proves these forecasts accurate. According to their data, just 6% of the folks who have purchased an iPhone 5s or 5c in the last 6 weeks upgraded from an iPhone 5…

While this may seem like obvious consumer behavior, considering that most folks buy their iPhones with two-year carrier contracts attached, it’s actually not the norm for iPhone buyers. CIRP says that 12% of those who purchased the iPhone 5 came from the 1 year-old iPhone 4s.


I suppose you could argue that the iPhone 5 was more of an upgrade from the 4s than the 5s is to the 5, and that’s why there was a change, but I could point you to a number of opinion pieces that beg to differ. Here’s more from CIRP’s co-founder Josh Lowitz (via MacRumors):

“We see a noticeable decrease in the number of iPhone buyers that seem to want the latest, most advanced phone,” said Josh Lowitz, Partner and Co-Founder of CiRP. “For the iPhone 5S/5C, 6% of buyers upgraded from the year- old iPhone 5. In contrast, at the launch of the iPhone 5 in September 2012, 12% of customers upgraded from the year-old iPhone 4S.” Within the two-thirds of iPhone buyers that upgraded from an existing iPhone in September and October 2013, many fewer upgraded from the year-old iPhone 5, relative to the 55% of iPhone 5 buyers in September and October 2012 that upgraded from the year-old iPhone 4S.”

The good news is that somewhere around 65% of iPhone 5s/5c purchasers in the US previously owned an iPhone model of some kind, which is up from 55% last year. And the popular handset is also seeing higher adoption numbers from former Android users, which is always a good sign.

For me, it’ll be interesting to see what these numbers look like after next year’s iPhone model is released. The smartphone is expected to be the line’s most significant update to date, with numerous reports calling for a 5-inch or larger display.

  • chris125

    Not surprising. With minor updates people aren’t as willing to upgrade every year anymore

    • Bob

      I think a lot more people would upgrade every year if there was a significant enough of a change. Not just a fingerprint sensor and a new colour.

      • chris125


      • marcus1324

        The only reason I bought the iPhone 5S the day after it came out was because I had an iPhone 4 and it was so slow and I was done with it. If I had an iPhone 5 I would not have upgraded.

      • KalikKazam

        Double Agreed!

      • Maxim∑

        Internally there were a lot more changes then that, but most regular mortals dont care about the inside

      • Marlber Cruz

        ^^I agree with both! Even those who blindly just buy the brand name are getting wise to the game. And then there are others that have more money then common sense…

    • Disssqusss


    • rubeN

      don’t forget, the iPhone 5 users are tied to a 2 year contract.

      • chris125

        Not necessarily. Not to mention in a lot of cases there are yearly upgrades. Contracts are only a US thing mainly

      • Burge

        Contracts are a US thing mainly..haha of cause..

  • Judge

    I totally agree. I have a IPHONE 5 and dont plan to upgrade.

  • Vince Reedy

    I still have a 4S and don’t plan on upgrading. The only feature I really want is 4G. I will wait until the screen size is bigger before I update. That or until the 4S won’t run the latest iOS version.

    • Chris Gaunt

      Agreed. This was almost exactly what I was about to post.

      • Vince Reedy

        I decided to spend my cash on the iPad air, upgraded from iPad 3

      • Chris Gaunt

        I skipped 5S after having 3GS and now on 4S. The wife has the 5. She also has the iPad 3. I was going to swipe her iPad and buy her the iPad Air but she didn’t think it was worthy enough to drop that sort of money. We’ll wait for next iPad too.

      • Vince Reedy

        Got the T-Mobile deal on the iPad, 26 a month, don’t even need the 200mb of data

      • moofer

        You can sell the 4S online and buy a new phone on contract and turn a profit. Sitting there with a “good enough” 4s is ridiculous.

      • Chris Gaunt

        If the current going rate on eBay for 4S were a little higher you might have a point. I think I’ll pass.

      • Burge

        That’s what I did .. And I had it unlocked from my carrier so it would appeal to more buys. And because of that it’s worth more..

    • on3simpleclick

      Same here. I’m happy with my 4S. Just hoping to see a jailbreak for 6.1.3 sometime in the near future. If one is released, I probably won’t upgrade to a new iPhone for a long time.

      • mav3rick

        Jailbreak for 6.1.3 should be released in the same time with the one for 7.x. They cannot expose the exploits before releasing 7.x Jailbreak as some will be used in both versions.

  • kenzie t

    the truth is, I don’t even see a point in upgrading from my 4s. My phone is still working just fine with iOS7 (although I turned off most of the features) and still fast as usual……maybe just because I prefer my smaller screen size :

    • on3simpleclick

      I prefer the smaller screen size as well (:

  • Justin Mitaritonna

    What the last 2 fellow 4S users said, I was planing on upgrading to the 5S but didn’t due to the lack of change I felt it brought, I wanted a quad core, another GB of ram, more megapixel camera, etc. Something that Apple’s competition seems to have no problem doing, I’m waiting to see what the iPhone 6 will look like, ( I want at least a 5 inch screen, bring on the iPhablet please! ) If more disappointment comes along, I will have no choice but to conclude Apple can no longer innovate without Steve Jobs and look elsewhere for a smartphone that meets my needs.

    • Obsidian71

      Quad Core is useless in a mobile phone. Few apps are going to be threaded properly to take advantage. As for megapixels the 5s did the right thing by increasing the sensor size. More megapixels would have just mean more noise given the same sensor size. I’m getting a 5s but if the iPhone 6 goes all teets out then Bob’s your uncle..I’m in there as well.

    • mehrab

      More ram mp and quad core is a waste the 5s is the fastest phone now beating the nexus 5 and note 3 and also has a much better camera a one that can complte and win against the 1020

      • Kurt

        Facts laugh at your statements. You can keep repeating your statements in nearly every post, but they are still untrue.


      • mehrab

        About the speed thing the nexus 5 trumps the note 3 in performance and the 5s trumps the nexus 5 supersaff has a video on it so does phone arena and some others just searchit on youtube. If the note 3 really had a better camera it wouldhave been more famous i mean the note 3 is popular but its not really a popular good android camera that would be the lg g2 the note 3 has a good camera its good enough to be nominated but it wont win put it thru its paces go for indoor low light flash and more brighter condintions and you”ll see it gets blased by the g2 5s or -020 (btw that video is biased supersaff is kinda very bisaed all he does is talk about specs and on the video where he compared the 5s and nexus 5 performance he opened temple run 2 that was the only game he tested he should have shown more hardcore games bcosp eople dont buy a 5s/note 3 to play such low powered games and also the 5s opens temple run 2 3.5 secs faster then the nexus 5 but on his video they almost opened at the same time what he did was he opened the game and closed it Nd opened it again this loDs it up quicker cos it remains in cache

      • mehrab

        The note 3 has a plastic design and is larger MUCH larger by volume thats why it doesn’t break about the screen thing its really about luck i dropped my iphones alot of times most of the time screen never shattered even if it did i could get it swapped and get a new iphone from the apple atore customer service for the note 3 is not really good the outer overlay on the note 3 is a good design aspect it looks ugly but it protects it the main reason its there is bcos note 3″s will be dropped more cos its so big its easily slipable the front of the gs4 is not the same btw

      • Hugh Jassol

        Apple doesn’t even try to blow as much smoke up our a**es….

        Let it go Mehrab…you’re just meh…..

      • mehrab

        This is what i call a GREAT unbiased comparison btw my temple run 2 point is here look at 3min 10 secs watch?v=6fiHWkd-imY

      • Kurt

        Its clearly not biased. The mic is superior. On note 3 it’s louder and it’s in stereo. Video is more crisp and natural looking same for pictures. IPhone wins only with flash and we all know no one uses flash to take a good pic. Plus you have manual settings on the note 3. Yes manual expose rude and you can pick the lighting settings. And if you drop the phone it doesn’t crack

      • mehrab

        Its cheaply built and amoled is terrible
        The camera is good it cannot dream about beating the 5s the 5s is the overall better camera yes the mic is superior on the note

      • Kurt

        It’s not cheaply built and amoled is not terrible. In some ways amoled is better than LCDs and other ways its worse.

      • mehrab

        Pentile is also terrible
        Its a cheap build its fake leathery plastic
        Software is clunky and clusstered i assume you have nova launcher on its funny how 90 percent of true android fanboys install a custom launcher and dont use the orginal skin i even seen nexus people do thatlol

      • Kurt

        I use touchwiz. I would install a custom launcher if I wanted a new look and feel but it’s still so new to me. (too bad this is impossible with iPhone, Dreamboard is ok though many things usually don’t work and are their for looks) Plastic is superior to metal. The faux leather feels premium (though its not) That’s the only advantage of Metal, is fee. In some situations like winter it feels cold and is a disadvantage. Faux leather has more advantages, it feels premium, it doesn’t scratch as easily, when it scratches its not easily noticeable, it doesn’t chip, it doesn’t bend and stay bent like metal, it is so light (my note 3 feels so light, very cool!) when dropped, it flexes too help take the shock, metal transfers the shock to the insides of the phone damaging it PLUS you get dents and scratches and sometimes chips! and its cheaper to make, but with the note 3 you don’t pay less, I paid wayyyyy to much for this phone. Not worth 1,100 dollars. I do like it but, no phone is worth that much. And I’m in Korea where this phone is from. Such BS. Anyway, more than plastic, I like glass, metal is my least favorite. But between, faux metal, and metal I prefer real metal. Faux metal can look real. S4 bezel for example. But on other phones they wear out and show the underneath and look awful. Never seen it on S4 but have seen it on S3 and Note 3. Iphone 5 was a good phone, not the best, iphone 5S is a great phone but not the best, but is the best in some performace like games, but I assume it would be equally good as wp8 phones as their operating system is so basic like iOS which provides such a good experience in games. Do you know why developers don’t make as good apps on Android as on iOS? Same programs but less features and sometimes just uglier. Different UI. Instagram doesn’t have video stabilization, why?

      • mehrab

        Theres nothing advanced on android tbh slow mo video 64 bit touch id taking 10 photos per second thats incredible but having a quad core and 3 gigs of ram and still losing is advanced having more toggles in the notification area is not having widgets (worlds most useless thing i”d rather just open the app) is not advanced pulling videos to yourhomescreen is not advanced apple could do that on their tablets why dont they? Bcos its actually a very impractical clunky feature. S-pen functions are very useless why take a screenshot with a stylus when you can just take it holding two buttons and crop things outif you dont want it. Spen is very amazing for sketching and drawing but i”d rather buy a cheap stylus/make one at home and draw on my ipad mini with paper, skechtbook pro and all you guys dont even have proper drawing apps. Its not about how less the os does my note 3 is no where near the 5s without widgets and live wallpapers on in performance its about efficiency and optimization. About the app thing maybe its loyalty or maybe its easier developing for ios or maybe people buy more apps on ios, open source is not advanced either and guess what? Ios 7 is jailbreakable and the 5s will be jailbroken and will be open sourced (i dont really care tho i like ios the way it is) but when its jailbroken android phones are nothing. SPEED,APPS,REALIBILITY,PERSONALIZATION,DESIGN everythings on ios oh next time yousee a 5 tryto bend it lol

      • Kurt

        I’m beginning to think you might not like Android

      • mehrab

        I only like vanilla android
        And no i do i just get pissed when people call ios an app laucher or very basic its NOT whats so advanced about android do tell? Open source? Iphones can be jailbroken Ability to swite individual notifications? Not something to die for and theres a jb tweak for that. Widgets? Something you stare at for 10 seconds a during a day of use from your device ? Thats really it

  • lemonhead

    yep, sounds about right…
    had the 3GS, then the 4S now the 5S.
    i like the s versions better as most previous problems have been solved.

    But currenly I’m not sure if my next phone is gonna be an iPhone again, as it seems Google has some big things lined up for 2016

  • n0ahcruz3

    No more iphones for me too until they release a larger screen with longer battery life

  • Jay

    I have iPhone 4 and I don’t care to update. If iPhone 6 turns out as the rumors suggest then I will update. People have been brainwashed into thinking they need a new phone every year which is ridiculous.

  • Saul Peraza

    I don’t know if you guys know this but Instagram is down right now you guys should make a story on it

    • Jo

      Instagram is down… I guess my friends will just have to describe to me their food they ate… lol

  • Obsidian71

    Expecting people to upgrade phones every year is dumb. The ones that do are typically on family plans and taking the upgrade of other family members to keep the costs sane.

  • GuyBey0ndC00L

    I personally didn’t upgrade from an iPhone 5 to an iPhone 5s because they never had the 5s Silver 32GB in stock. So I been trying friends iPhone 5s’s for a fews hours everything time I see them. Most apps are not optimize for 64bit. So apps like safari load about a millisecond or 2 faster. Which is real world use it a joke. Once apps are optimize for 64bit A7 maybe only than things will get interesting. Truth is my iPhone 5 is still fast and upgrading would almost be a waste at this time.

  • moofer

    My fiancé and I upgraded from 5’s to 5s’s. The 5’s went to the kids, and we sold their 4s’s. I guess we were in the 6%

    • Hugh Jassol

      Yupp, you and the Jones’

  • NSA

    I skipped 5S because my 4S is working fine. And I am looking an iPhone has a major upgrade like in screen size and more features.

  • mwpitt52

    I get a one year contract discount with AT&T. Bought the 5s for $450.00 and then sold my unlocked 5 for $450.00. I get a free upgrade every year.

  • Nirvana

    People want new designs, 4S doesn’t make much difference to the 5S considering the outlook despite the 4-inch stretching!

  • WolfgangHoltz

    I skipped both iPhone 5 and 5S, still use my iPhone 4S. And with the new iOS 7 crap my next one gonna be a Samsung with Android.

  • Christopher

    Went from a iPhone 4 to a 5s. I love it

    • hkgsulphate

      same here, went from 3GS tho 😛

  • Jason

    Looks like I’m one of the few percent. I had a 5 (and a 4S before that, and a 4 before that, etc ….).

    I found the 5s a significant upgrade from the 5, much faster, more significant than the 4S to 5 transition, but then I use a lot of different apps (200+ on my phone and more on my iPad). Though I have to say iOS 7.03 even runs OK on my trust iPhone 4 (mostly faster than iOS 6 anyway ).

    I have also found the camera significantly better in difficult lighting conditions and I really miss TouchID when using other devices – it’s so automatic I was distracted and waited a few seconds holding my finger on the home button of another iPhone before I remembered it didn’t have it! I hope they roll it out to the iPad next year.

    I have one more reason for buying the. 5s. If Apple bring out a bigger screen phone then it’ll be NO SALE for me. I had a Galaxy S2 then a Galaxy S3 and found them to be increasingly unpocketable. So I went back to my trusty iPhone 4 for my second line – perfect size. Having acquired an iPad mini at work I may save up and get one to carry in my bag – a good compromise between size and portability when out and about, but too big for a phone!!!!

  • Rot Kelfer

    if they were cheaper, they would attract me.

  • Yujin

    So that means mostly new customers and 2-year upgrades. Which is normal as few people have the need to upgrade or the money to ipgrade every year.

  • pauleebe

    We used to get upgrades 1 or 1.5 years into contracts sometimes with AT&T. Now they firmly discourage early upgrades for iPhones.

  • KalikKazam

    Minor Updates… I’m waiting 4 big changes and of course more than 4 inch screen size..

  • batongxue

    They are just waiting for the iPhone 6

  • Kilroy672

    This was my first iPhone so I went with the iPhone 5S and my wife went with the 5. She had a good deal with T-Mobile so we stuck with that. So far we are happy with these.

  • ɑղժɾҽա

    I’ll be waiting for the “magnificent” iPhone 6.

  • jacob wolin

    I think the big problem is that carriers aren’t letting people upgrade early, thats the case with Verizon

  • appleyay

    yea duh cause 5S and 5C are just more boring 5’s… 5 is old now its boring..