Survey: 48% of iPhone owners intend to upgrade within year

That’s up from 25% in June 2017.

From a note by Loup Ventures’ Gene Munster that landed on my desk Wednesday:

  • Heading into next month’s iPhone announcement, we surveyed 530 U.S. consumers regarding their intent to purchase the upcoming phones.
  • This survey showed a surprisingly high intent to upgrade, suggesting 48% of current iPhones owners intent to upgrade to a newer iPhone in the next year, compared to 25% in June of last year.
  • This 48% is an outlier, and therefore should be tempered (intent to buy vs. actual purchase conversion varies cycle to cycle), but the survey is nonetheless a positive indicator of upcoming iPhone demand.
  • 19% of Android users surveyed indicated they plan on switching to an iPhone in the next year, compared to 12% last year.
  • Survey’s bottom line: there is greater interest in this upcoming iPhone cycle than we had anticipated.
  • The bigger picture: iPhone is entering a period of stability (0% to 5% unit growth for the next several years) driven by 805m+ active iPhones with a high (90%) retention rate. Assuming a 3.5-year upgrade cycle and a 90% retention rate implies 207m iPhones sold each year, slightly below the Streets 219m expected in FY18 and FY19.


My take: That’s quite a pop between 2017 and 2018, when the millennium iPhone was the talk of the town. I wonder how much is iPhone X buzz, how much Apple’s upgrade program and how much Loup Ventures’ margin of error.


  1. John Konopka said:
    Was this the news that has been driving AAPL up all day?

    August 29, 2018
  2. Fred Stein said:
    Maybe that’s moving the stock higher. That 48% is “wow”, even with the cautions of intent vs. actual; And only 350 US buyers in the sample.

    The current FY, with it’s higher ASP, meant that aspirational buyers dominated. Maybe that 48% is the price sensitive buyers hoping for seasonal price drops. It would be great to see a big uptick in units, even with a drop in ASP. (Although constant ASP is fine.)

    August 29, 2018
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      only 350 US buyers in the sample.

      Im assuming your 350 is a fat finger error. The article referenced 530.

      Sample sizes above 400 do not make results more accurate, they only serve to decrease the margins of error. The stated sample size probably has a margin of error of +/-4%. I’m comfortable with the 48% results with a range of 44% to 52%. Even at 44% the number of upgrade intents is absolutely huge. The key is going to be the historic ratio of intent to actual.

      Given the research notes of Dediu and Gassée I believe December revenue will exceed my $95.177 Billion. Using the 5 year average unit growth rate (YoY) results in December revenue to ~ $102 Billion. Five years includes iPhone 5S results. Dropping to 4 year average increases revenue to $104 Billion. As I have stated previously iPhone ASP Is going To increase by reason of a new iPhone filling the $899 price point gap, and pent up demand for an iPhone X Plus.

      Neither estimate takes into account rapidly accelerating Periphermal hardware (Apple Watch, AirPods, HomePods) revenue growth rates, or non-games Services revenue growth.

      I further believe December results will carry over through the March, June and September quarters.

      I have upgraded my full year revenue estimate to $300 Billion.

      Of course the incremental sales volume will have a beneficial effect on gross margins. I see GM% increasing to 39% with Op Ex remaining the same.

      The impact of all this is full year Net Income of ~$71 Billion. Pick your preferred share count to determine EPS. I’m at $14.93.

      With Apple’s AI, VR and movie initiatives, and growing subscriptions I see continued revenue growth in FY2020 (5G rollout) and beyond.

      My January 2020 price target now stands at $310.

      Confirmation of all this will be Apple’s December quarter guidance given on October 31.

      August 30, 2018
  3. John Kirk said:
    Apple phone’s keep getting more expensive and Apple customer’s keep wanting them more and more.

    Go stick that in your conventional wisdom pipe and smoke it.

    August 29, 2018

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