Survey: Why the 40% of iPhone owners who didn’t upgrade didn’t upgrade

From a note to clients by Piper Jaffray’s Michael Olson that landed in my inbox Monday:

Our survey of 1,500 iPhone users shows that ~40% have not upgraded to iPhone X because they either feel the device is too expensive (31%) or they prefer a larger screen (8%) — details in table below.

upgrade

Given the next release of iPhones this Fall will likely address both of these issues, we are increasingly confident in our FY19 iPhone estimate of 233.8M, which is ~7M (3%) above consensus (227M). We believe FY19 will provide evidence of the “super-long” cycle we expect will play out as users migrate to “X-gen” devices over a multi-year period (details in paragraph below).

Slightly Lowering FY18 iPhone Ests. Based on our survey that suggests a large pool of potential iPhone buyers are looking for a larger screen or lower priced option and may, therefore, wait until the next batch of devices is out late this calendar year (pushing a large % of upgrades into FY19), we are slightly lowering FY18 iPhone units, from 230M to 226.3M. Our FY19 estimate is unchanged, but now appears potentially conservative.

“Super-Long” Cycle – Expanded Array of Next Gen iPhones Should Drive Ongoing Upgrades Well Into FY19. We anticipate a wider array of new form factor devices, similar to iPhone X, will launch in late Fall-18. While we have no direct knowledge of Apple’s launch plans for next year, we expect a lower priced X-gen option (potentially the current iPhone X with a price cut and/or an X “Lite”) and a “plus” X-gen model. As options for the “X-gen” iPhone expand, “shots on goal” for upgrading increases.

Maintain Overweight rating and $200 price target. 

My take: If Apple doesn’t release three X-gen models this fall, as rumored, there’s going to be hell to pay.

See also: Apple shares back on track after March guidance scare

8 Comments

  1. Adjusting forecasts to a precision of 100k units on a forward year basis and yet how well did they do in predicting what happened three months ago? Or every other quarter?

    3
    March 5, 2018
    • Olson is nothing if not precise. He estimated last quarter that Apple would sell 81.8131 million iPhones. Apple reported sales of 77.318 million. He was off by nearly 4.5 million.

      0
      March 5, 2018
      • Ken Cheng said:

        In science, we call it “sig figs”, for significant figures. Your output can’t be more precise than your inputs. That is, if one of your measurement units is to the 1000’s, then your result can’t be more precise than to the 1000’s. So, Horace’s point is that predicting to the 000,000’s unit seems rather nonsensical given the inputs.

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        March 5, 2018
        • David Drinkwater said:

          In Lean (at least Honeywell Operating System) language, we talk about Precision and Accuracy (I hope I don’t get sacked for sharing this technical language). Precision is the dog figs: how tight is your distribution? Accuracy is how close you are to the goal. In order to “fix” a process, you work on precision first, because that is about greater control. Then, once you have control of the *tight* distribution, you tweak it to move it.

          The problem with too much precision, of course, is that if you miss by a little, you miss entirely. With less precision (e.g. buckshot), you can be a little less accurate, but still cover the target.

          1
          March 5, 2018
  2. Richard Wanderman said:

    I upgraded to an iPhone 8 and won’t be upgrading in the next cycle. Did I “upgrade” or is it that only folks who bought an X upgraded?

    1
    March 5, 2018
    • Gregg Thurman said:

      LOL. In December my ex replaced her cracked screen iPhone 6 16Gb with an iPhone 7 64Gb. Is she an “upgrader”?

      0
      March 5, 2018
  3. Tommo_UK said:

    Olson was obviously playing Call of Duty and had to do the ol’ “key combo to pull up a spreadsheet” trick when his boss appeared, so he shuffled some numbers about and produced an iPhone report.

    1
    March 5, 2018

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