Why iPhone’s US Market Share is Declining

What you should know

  • The iPhone’s share of new phone activations in the U.S. has declined from 40% to 33% over the year ending in March 2024, a level not seen in six years, bringing the market share distribution back to approximately one-third iPhone and two-thirds Android.
  • Increased durability of smartphones and the introduction of financed phone payment plans over traditional two-year contracts have led consumers, particularly iPhone users, to delay upgrading their devices.
  • Despite annual updates and new features from phone manufacturers, the upgrade cycle has not significantly shortened, creating a large pool of potential buyers waiting for a compelling new feature or technology.
  • The growing integration of AI-powered features in smartphones might serve as a key incentive for consumers to upgrade their devices, amidst a trend where many wait until their current phone is no longer functional before purchasing a new one.

Full Story

Oh, the iPhone’s grip? It’s been slipping, folks. Yeah, you heard it right. Once upon a time, or rather, just last year, 40% of the new phone activations in the U.S. were iPhones. Fast forward to this year, and bam – it’s down to 33%. Feels like we’re time traveling back six years, doesn’t it? Back to the days when the iPhone had to duke it out not just with Android, but with Windows Phone and BlackBerry too. Imagine that!

Now, having every third phone activation in the States being an iPhone isn’t the worst it’s ever been. The folks over at Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, LLC (CIRP) say it’s kinda normal. Like, historically, iPhones have hovered around this one-third mark. So, maybe it’s not all doom and gloom, right? CIRP thinks this dip is just the iPhone returning to its usual haunt.

But why the dip, you ask? Well, it seems our smartphones are becoming too darn resilient. Plus, the new bells and whistles on the latest models? Not exactly earth-shattering. This has led to iPhone users, and let’s be honest, smartphone users in general, holding onto their devices way longer than before. Remember the days of the two-year itch? Gone. Now, we’re seeing folks cozying up to financed phone payment plans instead.

CIRP has this thing where they prefer looking at data from the past 12 months to make their quarterly comparisons. Why? It helps them avoid getting tripped up by the seasonal spikes – you know, when everyone’s either gifting phones or treating themselves to the latest model. They reckon this method gives them a clearer picture of what’s really going down in the phone world.

Despite the annual updates and spec boosts from Apple and Android makers, the rush to upgrade just isn’t what it used to be. But hey, there’s a silver lining for these companies. Turns out, there’s a whole bunch of us sitting on the sidelines, waiting for that next big thing to make us jump. And who knows? For some, the lure might just be the fancy AI features popping up on the new models.

But let’s be real. Outside the tech bubble, the average Joe and Jane aren’t rushing to get the latest gadget every year or two. Nope. Most are more than happy to wait it out until their phone gives up the ghost. And with phones being built tougher these days, and those pesky 36-month financing deals, it’s no wonder people are holding off on upgrading.

Derrick Flynn
Derrick Flynnhttps://www.phonesinsights.com
With over four years of experience in tech journalism, Derrick has honed his skills and knowledge to become a vital part of the PhonesInsights team. His intuitive reviews and insightful commentary on the latest smartphones and wearable technology consistently provide our readers with valuable information.


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