iPhone users are upgrading more slowly than ever, says report

iPhone XS and XS Max
iPhone XS and XS Max (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • A new study by Strategy Analytics reveals iPhone upgrade times are longer than ever.
  • The average U.S. smartphone user now waits 33 months to upgrade their phone.
  • Key factors for this is the perceived lack of innovation and prices that eclipse $1,000.

There have been many questions about why smartphone sales have been slumping. Many point to the increasing price tag and lack of innovation, but whatever the case, smartphone users are upgrading less than ever.

According to a new study by Strategy Analytics, the average time U.S. smartphone users wait to upgrade now stands at 33 months.

According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, the average Apple smartphone has been active for 18 months and 16.5 months for Samsung. 1 in 5 Caucasians plan to keep their phones for 3 years or more while Baby Boomers increasingly are delaying their smartphone purchase for 3 years+.

For the new study, Strategy Analytics conducted an online survey of 2,500 smartphone users.

A key factor for this is the lack of perceived innovation in devices that offer incremental upgrades more than ever. Of those polled, only 7% confirmed they'd be willing to spend over $1,000 on their next smartphone.

That contrasts with smartphone makers' strong pivot into the $1,000 segment as they search for more profitability. One of the key features these devices have begun offering is 5G, which one in four of those surveyed recognized "as being important for their next device," but the entry point could be too high.

The report goes on to highlight Apple's brand loyalty remains at over 70%, as does Samsung's. Apple also continues to dominate Hispanic and Asian markets with over 50% market share.

  • The iPhone notch turned me off. I still think it's an awkward design.
  • I wish it wasn't there but now I'm pretty used to it, I think they'll get rid of it next year
  • I'm meh on the notch, but the part that bugs me to no end is that I can't put control center anywhere BUT the top right. They're singling out lefties with something that could easily be a toggle. It's not a hardware redesign I'm asking for, just a switch.
  • Yeah that annoys me too, I'm a leftie as well
  • Notch doesn't bother me. I got the iPhone X when it first launched and got used to it pretty quick. The lack of massive spec difference is why I haven't upgraded yet. A triple camera lens won't be enough either.
  • I'm waiting for an iPhone with USB-C, no notch (doesn't bother me right now on my XS but I don't want it to stay), and some other unique feature. But I really do love my XS, it's my favorite iPhone since the iPhone 4, so I'll need some big reasons to upgrade