Report shows that iPhone buyers usually 'stay in their lane'

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Report shows that iPhone buyers usually 'stay in their lane'
According to data compiled by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), most iPhone buyers stick to what they know. The best way to predict which iPhone model a consumer will buy is to look at the model that he/she previously purchased. CIRP says that it sees very little switching between iPhone tiers and the analytical firm compares the iPhone market to a highway. "The iPhone market is sort of like a one-way, two-lane road, with a solid line between the lanes."

CIRP looked at iPhone purchasing data for the three full quarters that followed the introduction of the 2022 iPhone models last year. That includes the calendar fourth quarter that ended last December, the calendar first quarter that ended in March, and the calendar second quarter that ended in June. It also divided the purchases into three tiers. The first tier consists of the base models which are the non-Pro phones not including the iPhone SE. The premium tier includes the Pro models and there is a third tier called SE which includes the value-priced iPhone SE models. 

"We see significant loyalty to the model tier that a buyer previously owned," says CIRP, and this is borne out in the chart that accompanies this story. CIRP collected data from those who purchased an iPhone since the last launch in September 2022 and compared it to the iPhone model that they previously owned. 90% of consumers who upgraded to a new iPhone after September 2022 were replacing an older iPhone model.


For example, since the start of the calendar fourth quarter of 2022, 66% of those owning a base iPhone model, such as the iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, iPhone 14, iPhone XR, and all of the mini and Plus models, bought another base iPhone model for their next phone. Only 29% decided to upgrade to a premium "Pro" iPhone model. Rarer still is the iPhone base model owner who drops to the SE tier as only 5% have done that since the start of the 2022 fourth quarter according to CIRP.

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The data shows that premium iPhone owners, such as those with the iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max, are extremely unlikely to drop down to the base or SE tiers. A whopping 79% of iPhone users with a premium model are likely to continue shelling out for the Pro or Pro Max iPhone units leaving 21% to drop to a non-Pro or SE model from a Pro unit.

As you might expect, iPhone SE owners are a little more balanced since the SE doesn't come out on a regular schedule. 40% of SE buyers stick with the lower-priced model while 40% move up to the base models and 25% go to the premium tier. Yesterday, renowned analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that his data shows that the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus are generating pre-orders in line with last year's iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus.

Kuo also said that production issues and strong demand are leading to long wait times for the iPhone 15 Pro Max. He also says that iPhone 15 Pro demand is off compared to the iPhone 14 Pro last year.

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