According to the latest information published by market research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), owners of iPhone devices in the United States mobile market are holding on to their smartphones way longer today than in previous years. In gathering its data, CIRP looked into mobile users who have upgraded from an old iPhone device to a new model, and the firm found that the age of the old iPhones has risen in the last few years. In other words, iPhone owners are actually waiting longer before deciding to go purchase a new iPhone.
From June 2012 to June 2013, just over one third of iPhone devices were at least a couple of years old when their owners decided to replace them. However, since June of 2014, that percentage has increased to about half of iPhone devices. CIRP conducted its study by surveying nearly 3,000 customers of Apple in the US.
For any phone maker, getting consumers to buy its handset is already a win, but getting people to upgrade their current device to the latest smartphone offering is even better. In this day and age, continuity and customer loyalty are keys in ensuring sustained success. Before, a first time iPhone owner is considered almost always a repeat Apple customer. This is still true today, but only up to an extent. Even Apple knows this -- iOS users are just not that keen in buying new iPhones anymore because either their existing iPhone still works perfectly fine, or the latest model just does not offer enough for it to be bought.
As noted by Josh Lowitz, co-founder of CIRP, the frequency of upgrades to iPhone devices have somehow slowed down in recent years. This may be due to the fact that new, groundbreaking features are hard to come by these days, with iPhone fans feeling that the next big thing is still out there, so one might as well stick to his old iPhone. Another possible reason is that the purchasing landscape has evolved -- consumers used to buy handsets by way of subsidized plans that typically lasted a couple of years, after which users upgraded to a newer handset. Now, wireless carriers funnel consumers into finance plans wherein they pay the full cost of the device, in order to be able to upgrade to a new smartphone every year by trading in their current handset. But it turns out that not too many users are taking the bait.
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