Survey finds iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c attracting fewer early upgraders

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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.