Brand loyalty reportedly sees iPhone activations match those of Android

Apple Q2 2020
Apple Q2 2020 (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • iPhones and Android phones both now share the new smartphone activation numbers 50/50.
  • It's thought that iPhone loyalty and people switching from Android are the main reasons for Apple's growth — Android tends to make up a higher percentage of new activations.

A full 50% of all smartphone activations in the second quarter of 2021 were iPhones, with Android seeing a fall from its usual ~60% figure to the same 50%.

The numbers come courtesy of Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) and include new smartphone activations across the United States.

With Android traditionally enjoying around 60% of all activations, iPhone's growth from 40% to 50% is quite the result for Apple. CIRP's Mike Levin believes that the swing is all down to iPhone owners repeatedly buying new iPhones, while Android owners are beginning to switch more readily.

In the most recent quarter, Apple had an edge in loyalty, with 93 percent of prior iPhone owners upgrading to a new ‌iPhone‌, compared to 88 percent 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.

It remains to be seen how these figures will alter when Apple announces its new iPhone 13 devices later this year. There are more Android devices to come before 2021 draws to a close, too.

The CIRP numbers were based on a survey of 500 people who bought new devices between April and June. That isn't a huge number of people, of course — so keep that in mind when trying to decide whether to take the figures with a pinch of salt.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.