Apple’s U.S. iPhone User Base Sees Slowing Growth in Q1 2019

Apple's estimated U.S. iPhone installed base saw little growth in the first calendar quarter of (second fiscal quarter) of 2019, according to new data shared today by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP).

As of March 30, 2019, the U.S. iPhone use base hit 193 million units, compared to 189 million units at the end of the December quarter, marking two percent growth quarter over quarter.


Apple's iPhone user base was at 173 million units at the end of the March 2018 quarter, for year over year growth of 12 percent, which is not bad, but not quite hitting the growth rates of prior years.

A year ago, the installed iPhone user base in the U.S. grew four percent quarter over quarter and 19 percent compared to the prior year, indicating a plateau iPhone user base.
"The US installed base of iPhones continues to plateau," said Josh Lowitz, CIRP Partner and Co-Founder. "Relative to the most recent quarters, and especially to the past two or three years, slowing unit sales and longer ownership periods means that the growth in the number of US iPhones has flattened considerably. Of course, 12% growth in a year, after years of much greater growth is still good. However, investors grew accustomed to quarterly growth of 5% or more, and annual growth of almost 20%. This continuing trend prompts investors to wonder if iPhone sales outside of the US will compensate, and places greater pressure on Apple's determination to sell other products and services to the installed base of iPhone owners."
CIRP's estimated U.S. iPhone installed base is based on estimated worldwide iPhone sales of 39 million, calculated from Apple's iPhone revenue and average iPhone selling price for the quarter ending in March 2019.

iPhone sales have slowed down, and in January, the decline in sales over the holiday period led Apple to make the rare move of lowering its expected revenue guidance. Apple also saw a dip in revenue in the second fiscal quarter (first calendar quarter) of 2019, bringing in $58 billion, compared to $61.1 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Apple has never provided a specific breakdown of the number of active devices in the United States, but earlier this year, the company said there were 1.4 billion active devices around the world. 900 million of those devices are iPhones.

Tag: CIRP

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Survey Finds iPhone XR Remained Best-Selling iPhone Model Last Quarter in United States

iPhone XR remained the best-selling iPhone model in the United States in the first quarter of 2019, as it was in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to a survey conducted by research firm CIRP and provided to MacRumors.


The research firm found that the iPhone XR accounted for 38 percent of U.S. iPhone sales during the quarter, ahead of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max with a combined 21 percent of sales during the three-month period.

If accurate, the data is rather unsurprising, as the iPhone XR has the lowest price of the three new iPhones that Apple released in late 2018. The colorful handset starts at $749, compared to $999 for the iPhone XS and $1,099 for the iPhone XS Max, with many reviews labeling it the "best iPhone for the money."

Moreover, in January, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that the iPhone XR was the most popular iPhone every day since it launched.


CIRP co-founder Josh Lowitz:
iPhone XR continues to dominate US iPhone sales. It remains the best-selling individual model again this quarter, after launch early in the December 2018 quarter. In the US, the newest iPhone models sold about as well as the newest models a year ago, at about 60% of total sales. Based on these trends, we estimate an Average Selling Price of around $800, a decrease from the previous quarter.
The usual caveats apply, including that Apple no longer discloses iPhone unit sales, nor has it ever provided a model-by-model breakdown of iPhone sales. CIRP bases its findings on a rather small survey of 500 customers.

Related Roundups: iPhone XS, iPhone XR
Tag: CIRP

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HomePod Struggling to Gain Market Share Alongside Cheaper Amazon Echo and Google Home Speakers

Apple's expensive HomePod speaker accounted for just six percent of the U.S. smart speaker installed base through the fourth quarter of 2018, according to research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.


CIRP estimates that the U.S. installed base of smart speakers reached 66 million units last quarter, suggesting that HomePod sales in the country have totaled around 3.96 million units since the speaker became available to order in January 2018. Apple does not disclose exact HomePod sales figures.

By comparison, the Amazon Echo and Google Home accounted for a commanding 70 percent and 24 percent of the installed base respectively as of last quarter, with both products proving to be popular holiday gifts.


At $349, the HomePod is significantly more expensive than the Amazon Echo and Google Home. The small, entry-level Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini models in particular were available for as low as $25 during the holiday season, while the HomePod is only available in one size.

"Amazon and Google both have broad model lineups, ranging from basic to high-end, with even more variants from Amazon. Apple of course has only its premium-priced HomePod, and likely won't gain significant share until it offers an entry-level product closer to Echo Dot and Home mini," said CIRP co-founder Josh Lowitz.

To improve sales, many resellers offered the HomePod for $249 during the holiday season. Even now, the speaker is available for $279.99 at Best Buy, a $70 discount compared to its price on Apple.com.

In fairness, the HomePod also launched two to three years after many of its competitors, and sales remain limited to the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, China, and Hong Kong. But without a steeper price cut, the speaker faces an uphill battle.

In April 2018, well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple was "mulling" a "low-cost version" of the HomePod, potentially due to shipments of the current version being "far below market expectations." A report out of China said the lower-cost HomePod could be priced between $150 and $200 in the United States.

It's unclear if Apple would be willing to release a HomePod speaker with inferior sound quality versus the current model. Last year, a Chinese report said the lower-priced HomePod could actually be a Siri-enabled Beats speaker.

CIRP bases its findings on its survey of 500 U.S. owners of the HomePod, Amazon Echo, and Google Home, surveyed from January 1-11, 2019, who owned one of those speakers as of December 31, 2018.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Tag: CIRP
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

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CIRP Says iOS Loyalty ‘Hit the Highest Levels We’ve Ever Measured’ Last Quarter

Nine out of every ten iPhone users who upgrade their smartphone will stick with the iPhone, a recent survey suggests.


Consumer Intelligence Research Partners surveyed 500 consumers in the U.S. who activated a new or used phone in the final three months of 2018 and found that 91 percent of iOS users upgraded to another iPhone. Android users were also loyal, with 92 percent of respondents upgrading to another Android smartphone.

CIRP said loyalty for both iOS and Android has steadily increased, reaching the highest levels it has ever measured last quarter.


"Loyalty hit the highest levels we've ever measured," said CIRP co-founder Mike Levin. "Learning a new operating system takes effort, so fewer and fewer customers have found the need to switch. This, coupled with the quality and reliability of new phones is likely contributing to the longer upgrade cycles we are witnessing."

Tag: CIRP

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HomePod Estimated to Have 3 Million Sales and 6% Market Share in United States

The installed base of smart speakers in the United States, including the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and HomePod, has reached a combined 50 million units, according to research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.


CIRP estimates that, of that installed base, the HomePod has increased its market share to six percent as of the second quarter of 2018, ending June 30, implying that HomePod sales have now crossed three million in the United States.

By comparison, the Amazon Echo has 70 percent market share in the United States, with the Google Home at 24 percent, so the HomePod has significant ground to make up, which is to be expected since it only launched this past February, two to three years after its biggest competitors.

Even now, the HomePod is only available in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, and Germany.


Josh Lowitz, Partner and Co-Founder of CIRP, suggested that it may be difficult for Apple to gain additional market share among smart speakers, unless it releases a more competitively priced model:
Apple introduced HomePod in the first quarter, and now has a small but meaningful share. It took a small share of the market from both Amazon and Google. Still, Amazon has a two-year head start, and Amazon and Google each have a low-priced device that accounts for at least half of unit sales, so it's not clear how much further Apple can establish itself in the market without a more competitive model.
Back in April, well-connected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple was "mulling" a "low-cost version" of the HomePod, potentially due to shipments of the current $349 version potentially being "far below market expectations."

A report out of China said the lower-cost HomePod could be priced between $150 and $200, although it's unclear what tradeoffs would be made to achieve that price point. Most reviews agree the HomePod sounds great, but isn't so smart, so it's hard to envision that Apple would compromise on sound quality.

A few months ago, another Chinese report said the lower-priced HomePod could actually be a Siri-enabled Beats speaker.

Apple doesn't disclose HomePod sales, instead grouping it under its "Other Products" category in its earnings reports, alongside the Apple Watch, Apple TV, AirPods, Beats, iPod touch, and accessories. In May, research firm Strategy Analytics estimated HomePod shipments totaled 600,000 in the first quarter.

CIRP said its findings are based on its survey of 500 owners of the Amazon Echo, Google Home, or HomePod in the United States, who owned one of these devices as of June 30, 2018. The survey was conducted between July 1 and July 18.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Tag: CIRP
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Buy Now)

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Apple’s iPhone 8 Plus Was the Top Selling iPhone in the U.S. During Q2 2018

Apple's iPhone 8 Plus was the number one selling iPhone in the United States during the second quarter of 2018 according to new data shared today by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

The iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X accounted for 54 percent of US iPhone sales during the quarter, with the iPhone 8 making up 13 percent of sales, the iPhone 8 Plus making up 24 percent of sales, and the iPhone X making up 17 percent of sales.


Older iPhones continued to be popular as well, with the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, SE, 6s Plus and 6s making up 46 percent of sales. Apple's Q2 2018 sales are a deviation from its Q2 2017 sales, where the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the flagship phones at that time, made up more than 80 percent of sales.
In what is usually a quieter quarter for iPhone sales, the model breakdown is interesting, as older models persisted in popularity," said Josh Lowitz, CIRP Partner and Co-Founder. "The latest iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X models accounted for a little more than half of sales, yet last year at this time the then-latest iPhone 7 and 7 Plus accounted for over 80%. And, the iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, and SE grabbed 20% in the past quarter, virtually the same as in the June 2017 quarter, though at lower price points. So, it looks like two-year old legacy iPhones have squeezed the newer models. Still, because Apple increased base storage and boosted prices, we expect Average Selling Price to increase nicely over the June 2017 quarter."
Combined, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus made up 37 percent of purchases, far exceeding purchases of the iPhone X, according to CIRP's data.

This is likely attributable to the high price of the iPhone X, with pricing that starts at $999 vs. the iPhone 8's $699 starting price. Given the popularity of the two lower-cost devices, Apple plans to continue offering consumers an affordable option in 2018 with the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone that rumors suggest will be sold alongside more expensive 5.8 and 6.5-inch OLED models.

As for iPads, the low-cost iPad continues to be the best selling tablet, with CIRP lumping the 5th and 6th-generation models together. 31 percent of customers bought a low-cost iPad during the quarter, but the iPad Pro was also popular with a combined 40 percent of sales for the 10.5 and 12.9-inch models.


While CIRP's data can provide an interesting look at the iPhones customers in the United States are choosing to purchase, it's worth keeping in mind that CIRP's numbers are aggregated from surveys that encompass just 500 customers who purchased an iPhone, iPad, or Mac during the second quarter of 2018, which spans from April to June.

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Android Switchers Represent 15-20% of iPhone Buyers, Tend to Opt for ‘Plus’ Models

Most recent Android owners who switch to the iPhone ecosystem tend to opt for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, according to a new report sent to MacRumors today by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. The data was gathered during the fiscal quarter that ended March 31, 2018 and is based on a survey of 2,000 U.S. Apple customers who purchased an iPhone during that time.


In a given quarter, CIRP estimates that between 15 and 20 percent of iPhone buyers are switching over from the Android operating system. In terms of popularity, these switchers are opting for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus (40 percent of those moving from Android to iOS), and to a lesser extent the iPhone 7/7 Plus (about 25 percent) and 6s/6s Plus (about 12 percent).

Android users switching to iOS also tend to buy a "Plus" model iPhone more than iPhone owners looking for a new device. In total, 39 percent of Android switchers purchased a Plus model, compared to 29 percent of iPhone users buying another iPhone. "With Android manufacturers offering larger form factors for a longer time, it appears that Android owners appreciate iPhones with larger screens, as well," explained CIRP Partner and Co-Founder Mike Levin.


For older models, more former Android owners are buying the 7, 6s, and iPhone SE models than those users buying an iPhone who already previously owned an iPhone. This makes sense, as current iPhone owners are likely moving on to the latest models, while Android switchers are more content with entering Apple's ecosystem with a slightly older model.
“In marketing iPhones, Apple attempts to persuade current users of Google’s Android operating system to switch to its iOS operating system,” said Josh Lowitz, CIRP Partner and Co-Founder.

“Apple has had varying success, with seasonal variation in the percentage of buyers that are making the switch. We analyzed how Android owners that switch to Apple iPhones differ from repeat iPhone buyers. The former Android users gravitate to the lowest-priced iPhone models, which makes sense to us, with Android phones offering a wide range of models, many at relatively low-price points. And since everything on an iPhone is new to them, there is less value in purchasing the latest flagship model with the most advanced features.”
For the iPhone SE, Android switchers purchased the low-cost smartphone at twice the rate as iPhone owners during the six months ending in March 2018, proving the ongoing entry-level popularity of the small device. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Android switchers purchased the iPhone X (currently the most expensive iPhone) at half the rate as iPhone owners.

While today's report focuses on switching operating systems, CIRP's last survey looked at users who stick with an OS and discovered that Android had a 91 percent loyalty rate in 2017, compared to 86 percent for iOS. This meant that for those users surveyed, Android customers were more loyal to the Android operating system than iOS users were to the iOS operating system.

In April, Apple encouraged Android owners to switch to iPhone with a set of new ads in its "Life's easier on iPhone" series. The videos focused on iPhone features like the App Store, Portrait Mode, and Portrait Lighting, and the company linked back to its "Switch" website that's designed for customers who use an Android device or other smartphone and are thinking of switching to an iPhone.

Tag: CIRP

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Android Continues to Have More Loyal Customers Than iOS

Android customers continue to be loyal to the Android operating system than iOS users are to the iOS operating system, according to new data shared today by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

Android saw a 91 percent loyalty rate in 2017, compared to 86 percent for iOS, with loyalty rates for the two operating systems remaining largely steady since early 2016. Android loyalty has hovered at 89 to 91 percent since January 2016, while iOS loyalty has been between 85 and 88 percent.


Operating system loyalty for the year was measured by the percentage of customers that remained with each operating system when activating a new phone over the twelve months ending in December 2017. CIRP says its findings are based on quarterly surveys with a sample of 500 subjects each.
"Loyalty for both Android and iOS increased in 2015 and into 2016, when it leveled off for both operating systems," said Mike Levin, Partner and Co-Founder of CIRP. "Loyalty is also as high as we've ever seen, really from 85-90% at any given point. With only two mobile operating systems at this point, it appears users now pick one, learn it, invest in apps and storage, and stick with it. Now, Apple and Google need to figure out how to sell products and services to these loyal customer bases."
With the Android operating system, customers have access to a range of different smartphones that are all able to run Android, which may explain why it has a higher loyalty rate. Android devices are also typically more affordable than iOS devices, with a wider range of low-priced options available.

As CIRP points out, with fewer and fewer first-time smartphone buyers available, poaching customers from competing operating systems is becoming increasingly important. Apple regularly aims to lure Android users to iOS through trade-in options, videos, a Move to iOS app to make transitioning simple, and a "Switch" website dedicated to explaining all of the reasons why the iPhone is better than competing smartphones.
"We know Android has a larger base of users than iOS, and because of that larger base, the absolute number of users that switch to iOS from Android is as large or larger than the absolute number of users that switch to Android from iOS. Looking at absolute number of users in this way tends to support claims that iOS gains more former Android users, than Android does former iOS users."
These loyalty rates are not equivalent to switcher rates, where iOS wins out. With a larger Android customer base, more customers are switching over to iOS devices on a regular basis. During earnings calls, Apple CEO Tim Cook always touts the high number of Android switchers Apple sees, with each quarter setting a new record.

Tags: CIRP, Android

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iPhone X Accounted for 1 in 5 Smartphones Sold by Apple in United States Last Quarter According to Survey

Every one in five smartphones sold by Apple in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2017 was an iPhone X, according to data shared with MacRumors by research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.


Below is the exact model-by-model breakdown of Apple's total iPhone sales between October and December, based on the firm's survey of 500 consumers who purchased an iPhone in the United States during that period.

  • iPhone 8: 24 percent
  • iPhone 8 Plus: 17 percent
  • iPhone X: 20 percent
  • All other iPhone models: 39 percent

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners co-founder Josh Lowitz says the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X's combined 61 percent share of Apple's total smartphone sales is 11 percent lower than the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus accounted for in the year-ago quarter, but there are several caveats to consider:
At 61%, the three newest iPhone models together represented a somewhat smaller share of total US iPhone sales in the quarter, compared to 72% for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus a year ago. Yet, comparisons to earlier launches are tricky at best. First, iPhone X wasn’t available for the full quarter. The Apple model pie is further divided, as they now offer eight models, the most ever. And, Apple launched the new phones on a different schedule, announcing three new models at once, but delaying the lauch of the most advanced and expensive one, iPhone X, for five weeks following the launch of iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.
Apple doesn't disclose iPhone sales on a model-by-model basis, so this survey only serves as a rough estimate. However, analysts and investors will be listening for any clues about the sales mix during Apple's next quarterly earnings call on February 1.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Tag: CIRP
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)

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iPhone Was Most Activated Smartphone in United States Last Quarter According to Survey

Apple increased its share of smartphone activations in the fourth quarter of 2017, following the release of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, according to data shared with MacRumors by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.


iPhones accounted for 39 percent of activations in the United States between October and December, up from 34 percent in the year-ago quarter, based on CIRP's survey of 500 people who activated a new or used smartphone during that period.

Samsung was the runner-up with a 32 percent share of activations during the quarter, trailed by LG at 13 percent. All other smartphone vendors, including Motorola, HTC, and others, accounted for the remaining 16 percent share.


The survey findings are rather unsurprising given a trio of new iPhones launched between late September and early November, while Google's Pixel 2 and LG's V30 were essentially the only major Android smartphones to debut during the quarter.

CIRP co-founder Josh Lowitz:
Apple's iOS increased its mobile operating system share in the US in the most recent quarter. While Android still leads, the launch of the new iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X models, without similar new Android phones, allowed Apple to increase its share of activations in the quarter, relative last quarter and to the year-ago quarter.
The survey also shows that Apple and Samsung continue to form a smartphone duopoly in the United States, with no sign that'll change any time soon.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone X

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