Interest in Apple's new iPhones near all-time lows at Verizon, AT&T and Sprint

Interest in Apple's new iPhones near all-time lows at Verizon, AT&T and Sprint
Armed with quarterly customer survey reports it's been doing since 2013, research firm Cowen sounds the alarm on iPhone sales going forward, based on its latest Q4 questionnaire. It probed Verizon, AT&T and Sprint customers, in the all-important postpaid cohort, and just 80.5% of iPhone owners there indicate that they will be getting another one when upgrade time comes.

While that kind of interest may sound high, it's actually among the lowest numbers in the history of Cowen's surveys, as, just for comparison, curiosity in upgrading to newer iPhones was 87.6% in the previous quarter. The research firm's findings actually correspond with Ming-Chi Kuo's recent memo to clients that lowered his new iPhone sales predictions significantly. Cowen's analysts attribute these historically low numbers to the price of the iPhone X, and the underwhelming changes in the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus, compared to their predecessors:


Another reason for the drop in interest toward new iPhone upgrades among postpaid subscribers of the largest US carriers may be that people are simply satisfied with their current smartphones for longer periods of time than before. Currently, folks who say they are planning to use their phones for 2+ years, represent 34% of the people surveyed, says Cowen, which is a huge jump from their 23% share just a few years ago. Phones are getting too good to swap every year or so, it seems, and this might force manufacturers to reconsider the typical annual upgrade cycle at some point.

Interest in Apple's new iPhones near all-time lows at Verizon, AT&T and Sprint

Related phones

iPhone X
  • Display 5.8" 1125 x 2436 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A11 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2390 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 2716 mAh(21h 3G talk time)

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20 Comments

4. splus

Posts: 132; Member since: Nov 26, 2011

Phones are not "getting to good to swap every year or so", but are simply getting too expensive to swap every year or so. I'm not going to pay $800-1000 every year or even two. Phone manufacturers need to rethink their pricing strategy. Lower the prices and you'll have less profit per unit, but you'll sell many more phones. Overall more profit.

17. libra89

Posts: 2135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

This is a great point. My friends got older iPhones and just got the battery replaced which is working out fine for now. Why change for minimal benefit?

33. makatijules

Posts: 835; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

Do you pay cash for your phones? Because I have NEVER spent $1000 on any phone. I usually just get them on the monthly or lease and just trade up the next year. That way I get 2 phones brand new for the price of one. Every phone I have ever sold on eBay or Swappa, even after a year, because they are always in 9.9/10 condition, I always get between 55% and 70% of its original retail price. I just sold 2 Note 8's for $750 each.

12. jove39

Posts: 2137; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Chill...It’s just 7% drop, no need for alarm. In fact Apple deserved bad sales this year due the poor job it did with new iPhones.

14. darkkjedii

Posts: 30672; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

It's plain and simply, a boring device. There's some things to like, and a few to love, but overall it's very boring limited, and restricted. No longer good enough to be my daily driver.

15. makatijules

Posts: 835; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

Its because people are buying phone son 24 month payment plans and simply are waiting for those to expire vs just buying a new phone that does nothign the one they have can't do. Ridiculously pricing the iPhone X, when it only catches up to the S6 edge as far as capabilities, and no fast charger in the box and no premium headphones and the fact the iPhone 8's and X no longer support 32bit apps, and the use the the same design for the 4 model in a row; is enough to just say no. Wonder what people are gonna do when the next iPhone models all look and work like the X? I see a mass jump in Android usage starting in late 2018.

16. kiko007

Posts: 7383; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

"I see a mass jump in Android usage starting in late 2018." Of course you do. You always do, and you're always wrong.

19. makatijules

Posts: 835; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

No one is always wrong. And you're wrong way more than anyone here, because you see everything with blinders on. Your opinion don't matter to me, along with your bottom-feeding friends.

25. kiko007

Posts: 7383; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

"And you're wrong way more than anyone here, because you see everything with blinders on." You're projecting harder than my history professor during university. The day a Samsung shill like you is accurate in your novice prediction is the day I buy one of their shitty phones.

27. midan

Posts: 2473; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Actually most times in this site you are wrong, and your long posts also are full of false information.

18. libra89

Posts: 2135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

It's also cheaper to get the battery replaced for iPhones over upgrading.

26. midan

Posts: 2473; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

"and the fact the iPhone 8's and X no longer support 32bit apps, " This isn't hardware thing, any device running iOS11 won't run 32 bit apps.

36. makatijules

Posts: 835; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

No one said it was a hardware thing. I stated a fact. They don;t ruyn 32bit apps. Yet Android and Windows even on the LATEST versions still run 32/64bit apps side by side with no issue. I stated a fact. Nothing you said will change that fact. iPhone 8's and X's don't run 32bit apps. The hardware is fully capable of doing so. Apple can't do it because iOS can't handle it. That is why apps crashed so much on iOS 9.x. Because they tried to run 32/64 together and they failed trying to rush to be first with a 64bit chipset. That we didn't even need and provides no benefit. I suppose you typed that claiming I said something wrong? Yet I didn't.

21. Rigmaster

Posts: 234; Member since: Jan 22, 2018

The price. It was always the price that was going to slow down iPhone X. iPhone 8/8+ just aren't different enough from iPhone 6S/7/7S. If it weren't for iMessage, Apple's loyalty would really be tested.

29. Sakeem

Posts: 856; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

I think time will tell. If the prices of phones continue to go up and sales continue to decline, then hopefully that means OEM's will adjust accordingly by lowering the prices of their phones. That's most likely wishful thinking on my part though. Incremental upgrades should not warrant a $100 - $200 price increase on any phone.

31. tokuzumi

Posts: 1757; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

I used iOS as a daily driver for a little over a year. That was all I could take. The OS design is extremely poor. Good luck finding anything in the settings app. And that's where Apple puts everything. Notifications are disorganized, and the launcher is just "everything everywhere". Folders help, but isn't enough.

35. midan

Posts: 2473; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Top of the settings page have search for that reason.

37. dmomintz

Posts: 68; Member since: Jan 21, 2016

Apple can't reasonably sell the same amount of $800- $1000 phones as they did a couple years ago due to carriers not subsidizing upgrades/new contracts any longer, and it's foolish not to recognize this change in the industry as a major factor. What once cost $200 to $400 with a contract now costs full price with financing, with no savings or advantages in these plans for the consumer. Plan rates have not decreased since they stopped the subsidies as the carries hinted they would. This decrease in interest was inevitable as people don't get near as much value for flagship models these days and Apple can't ride the sheep train forever. The sheep have been fleeced so often they just simply can't afford it any longer. In my option, these numbers will only trend downward as they continue to focus on style rather than substance and value for the consumer.

38. Swiff

Posts: 29; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

Good point for this reason I bought an iPhone 6s and I will use it until it dies. I bought it with my last carrier sibsidy for $200 don’t see spending 800-1000 on a phone unless the specs are over the top. I will most likely replace the battery on this for the $29 and use it for another 2 years.

40. p51d007

Posts: 697; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

$$$$$ might have something also to do with it. With a 64% markup between build cost & retail cost versus the "value" of spending over $1,000.00 on a smartphone, it just isn't worth it to trade/dump/sell the phone every 12-24 months. When the carriers (USA) dropped the 2 year service plan, that came with a reduced price phone locked contract, the carriers came up with another way to hook them to overpaying for service, by offering a no interest payment plan. Overcharge the retail price of the phone, for 24 months, and hook them with this "fee" or that "fee" to stick it to them. I use an MVNO that gives me unlimited talk/test, 10GB data, less than 50 bucks/month. Purchase a "last years" new model, around 400-500 bucks (or less) and in 2 years you'll save a ton.

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