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New iPhone activations are down to a low not seen in the U.S. smartphone market for the last six years, according to a new Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) report.

iphone-15-sizes.jpg

While CIRP notes that Apple's installed smartphone base is higher than recorded activations, the figures show its share of new iPhone activations fell from 40% to 33% over the past year, suggesting a shift away from the higher market shares Apple enjoyed in previous years.

Historically, around the time when competitors like Blackberry and Windows phones were more prevalent, iPhone's activation share hovered around one-third. This increased steadily until the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic when various factors contributed to a spike in activations. However, Apple's iPhone share appears to have reverted to its long-term average, with two out of three new smartphone activations now from Android devices.

CIRP suggests the decline is due to the increased price of modern smartphones as well as better durability. While innovation has slowed, there has been a shift from two-year subsidized purchases to more transparent buying plans, which has prompted consumers to hold onto their devices for longer. This trend appears to impact iPhone sales more significantly than those of Android devices, suggesting Apple may need to adjust its strategy to regain market momentum.

cirp-2023-4-iphone-activation.jpeg

The report covers a 12-month period ending each quarter and includes data from CIRP's quarterly survey of mobile phone customers. The aim of this approach is to remove the seasonal spikes typically associated with new device launches and holiday sales, providing a clearer view of ongoing trends, according to the firm.

Article Link: Android Bosses iPhone in Smartphone Activation Market Share
 
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abatabia

macrumors 6502
Jul 27, 2023
334
4,474
New Jersey
2023 was the first year since 2020 I did not upgrade my iPhone, and I religiously upgrade every year. I did, however, get an 8 Pro because of the deal Verizon offered me. While this is just my opinion, I’m enjoying the 8 pro immensely. It’s not the most powerful out there but the camera is amazing, it’s as comfortable as my 11PM was, and the AI is kinda useful. It’s an amazing all around phone and it’s just a new experience that I am really enjoying. My 13PM soldiers along and is just also not worth upgrading so I have both. I have a 14Pro but it’s largely a disappointment for me. Battery is awful and it’s just…..meh. I have found iPhones to have grown just a tad stale and predictable. Again, just me.
 

User 6502

macrumors 65816
Mar 6, 2014
1,118
4,212
not surprised. Apple has proposed the same phone for half a decade with little to no innovation other than name change, anti-consumer choices (old cpu in non-pro version, extortionate pricing models etc). The market reacted and it will react even more if Apple doesn’t change their ways. And their syrategy to rely on subscriptions and services will be hindered significantly by the European Union as well as legislation from other countries. Apple should focus on what it used to be good at: excellent hardware and great software.
 

contacos

macrumors 603
Nov 11, 2020
5,072
19,568
Mexico City living in Berlin
Here is an idea that will never happen. Remove the Non-Pro iPhones and simply go back to selling "iPhone" and "iPhone Max"* or whatever you want to call it at a more competitive price point and the previous gen on a discount.

People may say "But I don't want to pay extra for "Pro" features that I don't need" but that is exactly the point, you should not have to pay extra to get the latest generation, it would simply be the latest iPhone and thats it. Remember "iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max" - no additional "Pro" nonsense.
 

jo-1

macrumors regular
May 13, 2023
135
240
I guess we should neither worry whether Android nor iOS wins since this is a marathon and not a one-time-off topic.

The most important questions for all companies is how well they make money and can sustain a tangible difference to the next competitor.

With respect to iPhones the progress is there but it's nowhere near to the steps we've had in the past and IMHO that's a good thing since I can use my gear a year or two longer - with my iPad Pro from 2018 it is now a whopping six years.

Maybe this will trigger the guys from Cupertino to address niche markets again like the iPhone mini but maybe also an iPhone mini on steroids. That would be my preferred device and I would buy it in a heartbeat at any given price.

My current iPhone14 PRO is far too big and heavy for my taste. Smaller, lighter and for the times where I need endurance a power bank additionally would be much more my desired goal.

Let's hope that loosing some market share will trigger a bit more niche products - that would be beneficial for us all.
 
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neuropsychguy

macrumors 68030
Sep 29, 2008
2,514
6,139
CIRP suggests the decline is due to the increased price of modern smartphones as well as better durability.
That's going to be a huge factor. Phones are generally really good now performance-wise and with durability. Smartphones are a mature market with few changes year to year (true for any phone manufacturer). Add in inflation pressures, and people just won't upgrade as often. Maturity of cellular networks also helps. For years we were marching towards good enough cell networks. With "5G" that's generally the case. This provides less incentive to upgrade, especially if doing so will cost a lot of money.

There are many other factors, but unless there are major camera upgrades on newer iPhones, I'll hold on to my 13 Pro for a couple more years at least.
 

mrgrdn

macrumors member
Feb 15, 2024
38
29
When you look around, most people seem to not care about how much an iPhone costs. I see people who own the Pro model just to have it, as well as many owning an Apple Watch Ultra but never actually venturing into the woods. The issue of price seems irrelevant by now. In my opinion, the focus on why not as many iPhones are being sold has shifted towards "durability and reliability". A study by Asymco has shown that, on average, over the past ten years, an iPhone has been used for four years and three months.
 

SpotOnT

macrumors 6502a
Dec 7, 2016
925
1,963
Do new activations mean that much? The average iPhone user keeps their iPhone for a lot longer than the average android user keeps their android.

I don’t see how activation rate necessarily speaks to marketshare.

Surely something like what devices are used to access various websites is a better measure of market share.
 

JCCL

macrumors 68000
Apr 3, 2010
1,973
4,443
Here is an idea that will never happen. Remove the Non-Pro iPhones and simply go back to selling "iPhone" and "iPhone Max"* or whatever you want to call it at a more competitive price point and the previous gen on a discount.

People may say "But I don't want to pay extra for "Pro" features that I don't need" but that is exactly the point, you should not have to pay extra to get the latest generation, it would simply be the latest iPhone and thats it. Remember "iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max" - no additional "Pro" nonsense.
They did have the XR though which served as a non pro variant.
 

ghostface147

macrumors 601
May 28, 2008
4,231
5,259
I have my purple 14 pro max and don’t intend to upgrade unless something blows me away this cycle. Plus AT&T gave me $10 off my bill for bringing my own device when I went to them after my company stopped paying cell phone bills. They also recently sent me an email stating that for me to keep the $10 discount, not to upgrade my phone.

I guess I’d have to buy full price if I want to upgrade and buy from Apple, not AT&T.
 

jordanm86

macrumors regular
Oct 21, 2011
236
78
I'm not surprised really given the rise in costs - it's expensive to stay in the Apple ecosystem.

- Finally just upgraded my work computer and monitor - £4,250.
- I also use an iPad Pro for illustration work - that's another £1,500 with a keyboard and pencil every few years.
- Apple Watch now over £400 every couple of years.
- Airpods set me back £200

Can't afford an iPhone over £1k each year too 🤣 I'm still using an iPhone 12 pro - up until this phone I would upgrade every year, now I am trying to make everything last as long as possible.
 

User 6502

macrumors 65816
Mar 6, 2014
1,118
4,212
They did have the XR though which served as a non pro variant.
True for that generation, but historically there used to be just a flagship model and until iPhone 5 it came in just one screen size. Then from six onwards two sizes were introduced but still no pro variant. It was only with iPhone X that a pro variant was proposed, although it wasn’t called that. Apple should simplify their lineup and go back to having just one flagship device, perhaps in two sizes if they really want to.
 

one more

macrumors 601
Aug 6, 2015
4,687
5,961
Earth
This trend appears to impact iPhone sales more significantly than those of Android devices, suggesting Apple may need to adjust its strategy pricing to regain market momentum.

I like my iPhone 15 a lot, but a cheaper S23 would give me even better specs for a lower price.
 

jjohnstonjr

macrumors 6502
Apr 18, 2017
268
361
Cleveland Ohio
I said this before on this forum and I’ll say it again, iOS is lacking tremendously when it comes to AndroidOS and ppl want more bang for their buck. Before I grabbed a 15 Pro Max I was heavily considering a S24U from Samsung. The phone is a beauty and the OS just delivers more. I think many ppl are in a chokehold due the ecosystem, iMessage with friends and FaceTime. Once RCS becomes available on the iPhone we might end up seeing a mild exodus from iOS altogether. Who knows? But one thing for sure is Apple absolutely has to stop throwing around the word “innovative” when it comes to these devices when their direct competitor is almost light years ahead of them with their technology.
 
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