Apple vs. Android: In the U.S., they’re neck and neck

From Consumer Intelligence Research Partners’ “Apple iOS Surges,” posted Monday:

apple android tie“Apple iOS and Google Android are now roughly at parity in terms of share of buyers,” said Josh Lowitz, CIRP Partner and Co-Founder. “For several years Android smartphones had a significant edge, with over 60% of customers opting for an Android phone in most quarters. In the past couple of years, though, iOS has closed the gap, and now splits the market with Android.”

“Loyalty and switching help explain some of the change in share of new phone activations, with iOS gaining loyalty in a market with minimal switching,” said Mike Levin, CIRP Partner and Co-Founder. “In the most recent quarter, Apple had an edge in loyalty, with 93% of prior iPhone owners upgrading to a new iPhone, compared to 88% of Android owners staying with Android. Over several years, iOS gained about five percentage points in loyalty, while Android remained flat. This allowed Apple to steadily increase the iOS share of new smartphone activations.”

CIRP bases its findings on its survey of 500 US customers that activated a new or used phone in the April-June 2021 period.

Cue the OS share charts:

My take: Loyalty’s reward.

16 Comments

  1. Gregg Thurman said:
    Cream, ever more expensive than fat free milk, always rises to the top.

    0
    July 19, 2021
  2. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    “CIRP bases its findings on its survey of 500 US customers that activated a new or used phone in the April-June 2021 period.”

    I’m never one to piss on performance concerning anything Apple, but at 500 people in a three month timespan (an average of 166.66/month activating) strikes this investor as tiny.

    Analytically, it’s manifested as a pretty loud blip. It got posted here.

    2
    July 19, 2021
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      Analytically, it’s manifested as a pretty loud blip

      This is where THE LAW OF LARGE NUMBERS is properly used. Above a sample size of about 450 the results don’t materially change. The results do get more accurate (smaller margin of error) but not by much.

      This type of survey will elicit binary answers, so I have good confidence in its conclusions, although I would have preferred the survey was conducted over a shorter duration.

      1
      July 19, 2021
  3. Horace Dediu said:
    Install base for iOS will be higher because iPhones last longer, a lot longer.

    5
    July 19, 2021
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      And that will inflate new Android sales market share, because the same Android user may buy 2 Androids in a given period, while the iPhone user only buys one, IOW, there’s a lot more churn among Android users.

      I agree with you Horace, given the survey’s results I would conclude that iPhone installed base is materially larger than the Android installed base.

      1
      July 19, 2021
    • Jerry Doyle said:
      @Horace Dediu: “…. iPhones last longer, a lot longer.”

      Exactly! And Apple continues “Security Software updates” for 7 years! 🙂

      0
      July 19, 2021
  4. Fred Stein said:
    Folks, please note; “..customers that activated a new or used phone..” That gives Apple a credit for its vibrant used iPhone franchise.

    A lot of iPhone counters, like Toni S. for example, don’t see this, don’t count it. Hence they grossly underestimate Apple and AAPL.

    Android can’t compete with hand-me-down iPhones from parents who love their kids and Apple products. NO ONE can measure this.

    7
    July 19, 2021
  5. Tom Farris said:
    @Horace FWIW, (not much I agree,) but my original owner iPhone 4S (my wife gets all the newer phones) is still performing just fine on iOS 6.1.3.

    2
    July 19, 2021
  6. Bart Yee said:
    While important this report reflects the US market, Apple’s biggest, I’d like to see similar data for all major market regions including China, the EU, and eventually India.
    Then we’ll be talking. Once we see meaningful sales & market share gains plus conquest sales in these markets, one can see the growth potential of Apple worldwide. The rumored 2022 iPhone SE 3 refresh with A14 chip and 5G connectivity at a very affordable price could alter the landscape considerably.

    Everyone would complain Apple was undercutting the competition with lower cost iPhone hardware at rock bottom margin and top-of-the-line performance and making it up with higher margin services and eventual complementary Watch SE and iPad sales. Then they would run to governments saying Apple should be forced to sell at much higher prices since selling at reduced margins is unfair competition.

    0
    July 19, 2021
    • Kirk DeBernardi said:
      @ Bart Yee and Gregg Thurman —

      “While important this report reflects the US market…”

      Ain’t buying it. Too granular.

      Again — even taking into account Gregg Thurman’s above comment regarding “Law of Large Numbers” where above a count of 450 not materially changing an extrapolated result, I still say nay.

      Whereas “The Law of Large-ER Numbers” where generally Apple can reliably suck more users and revenue into its ever-expanding platform & products vortex — that I can embrace.

      The former being some faint call-out of evidence of a tip of an iceberg. The latter being the iceberg.

      1
      July 19, 2021
      • Bart Yee said:
        @Kirk I do not disagree with your assertion that the sample size N data may or may not be sufficient to draw absolute conclusions. However, it does IMO point towards a trend. I would suggest that we could couple some 10Q data with it.

        Comparing 10Q’s for CY2021 Q1 with Android’s best maker, Samsung showed an 18% increase in revenue overall (to $56.83B) and 13% in mobile revenue (to $24.5B) both YOY. Operating profit was $8.15B overall and 3.82B for Mobile. Gross margin was 15% for mobile.

        Apple’s FY2021 Q2 showed $89.58B overall revenue, an increase of 53.6% and iPhone revenue of $47.94B, an increase of 65.5%! Overall Operating profit (net income) was $23.63B, gross margin for products was 36.1%, implying iPhone profits were $8.5B.

        So despite Apple only having 15-17% of market by unit sales and 3rd or 4th overall depending on who’s report you look at, compared to the Android leader Samsung (who also has other vertical businesses) Apple has 57% more revenue, 190% more profit overall. In smartphones, Apple has 96% more revenue and 122% more profit than Samsung!! Apple is truly a much more efficient a business!

        Now we can quibble about trends in Apple’s biggest single market, the United States. But Apple says it succinctly in each of its quarterly press releases, this from Q2 2021:
        “International sales accounted for 67 percent of the quarter’s revenue.”

        2/3rds of all revenue are non-US, showing precisely why Apple must deftly manage international relations / pitfalls and international sales in so many countries.

        So whether or not CIRP’s numbers accurately reflect on the US is debatable, but if it can or does reflect trends on what is happening elsewhere in the world, and backed up by Apple’s own numbers, then Apple IS firing on all cylinders and ready to kick in the turbos.

        2
        July 19, 2021
        • Kirk DeBernardi said:
          @ Bart Yee —

          Agreed. In any final analysis, Apple is poised to seize an even brighter future.

          In all my years of stewardship with my AAPL holdings, I’ve never worried too much about Apple’s continued performance summed up in Tim Cook’s expressed concern of losing their “North Star”. They still seem methodically on track. I truly believe they are “firing on all cylinders” as never before which leads me to be deeply concerned about only one real danger — when will things start to crack.

          Horace Dediu proved long ago during a charted presentation of the lifespans of many successful companies that “everything arcs” and determining the apex of Apple’s arc is foremost on my mind as an Apple shareholder.

          Regardless, it’s been a fascinating and wondrous ride.

          1
          July 20, 2021

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