Piper Sandler: Only 10% expect to buy Apple's 5G iPhones this fall

That's down from 23% in Piper Sandler's previous survey, says analyst Harsh Kumar.

From a note to clients that landed on my desktop overnight:

In our survey of 1,000 Americans, only 10% of respondents expect to buy/upgrade to a new 5G iPhone this fall/winter. In addition, only 10% of current iPhone owners expect to upgrade their device. The results are lower than we expected ahead of the major product announcement expected at today's Apple Event and also lower than a prior survey suggesting 23% of current iPhone owners would buy a $1,200 5G iPhone. Our survey also points to the average age of an iPhone currently being ~2.3 years old. In addition, respondents expect the mid-end 5G iPhone to be ~$1,015. Finally, we believe respondents are interested in purchasing new Apple Watches and iPads, but budgetary constraints (similar to trends in PSC's recent teen survey) could hinder purchasing...

Other iPhone Survey Data: Of the individuals planning to upgrade/buy a 5G iPhone this fall/winter, roughly half plan to purchase for the 5G cellular capabilities, while the other half need to upgrade their phone. In addition, the average age of current iPhones is roughly 2.3 years old, with nearly a third noting their iPhone is a year or less old. Finally, respondents expect the average price of a mid-end 5G iPhone to be ~$1,015, slightly below the $1,068 average mid-end price over the last three years.

Budget Constraints May Limit Other Purchases Despite Interest: Nearly a quarter of respondents see value in the new Apple Watch 6, but only 8% plan to upgrade/buy one. In addition, 12% of the survey noted the new lower priced Apple Watch SE makes them more likely to buy an Apple Watch. We were a bit surprised to see the low interest level for the Apple Watches, but we think budgets may be constrained given the current pandemic/economic environment. Regarding iPads, ~15% expect to buy a new iPad soon due to a recent lifestyle change, an impressive amount given where we are in the pandemic.

Maintains Overweight rating and $130 price target.

My take: Mr. Kumar is "a bit surprised." We're a little less so.


  1. David Emery said:
    One wonders how they sample to get results like this.

    They didn’t ask me, I’m buying a new phone this year. (And 5G is not a significant consideration in that decision.)

    October 13, 2020
  2. Fred Stein said:
    Two points raise concern about the sample.

    1) Average age of current iPhone being 2.3 years. Does not align with other surveys.
    2) Mid-end ASP of $1015 seems high.

    We should note the delay and slow roll-out of models (as rumored) may impact FY Q1 units. Still, no worry about rumors on short term iPhone unit sales.

    October 13, 2020
  3. David Emery said:
    A 15% upgrade rate would imply a -6 year- replacement cycle. I don’t think so!

    October 13, 2020
  4. Jerry Doyle said:
    Most individuals with whom I talk about the new iPhone 12 are not even aware of today’s event and are not that knowledgeable of 5G, if it even registers with them. The few who do register with 5G do not understand fully what is 5G, they ask?

    I am highly skeptical of some of these surveys. I find iPhone users love their devices. I also must say, most iPhone users seem to want to hold on to their devices. No, I have not had any say they plan to rush and purchase a new iPhone 12. I believe Apple’s excellent advertisement programs and the approaching Holidays serve as incentives to awaken the consumer to getting a new iPhone. You build it, you announce it, you advertise it, you show it and folk then buy it. Apple knows how to work the crowds to entice consumers to upgrade.

    October 13, 2020

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