iPhone 6, 6 Plus Generate Upgrades But Not Switches

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Apple is enjoying high retention rates and more upgrades than Android this year thanks to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, according to the results of a study conducted by Raymond James. The survey covered about 600 smartphone owners and was conducted Dec. 18-19 and comes the same time as another study which showed that the iPhone dominated device activations during the December quarter.

iPhone 6 keeps ownership in similar range

In their report dated Dec. 29, 2014, analysts Tavis McCourt and Daniel Toomey noted a slight increase in iPhone ownership and purchase intention compared to their last survey in September. However, they say the result is in a “similar range” to what it has been in the last one or two years.

About 52% of participants said they own an iPhone, and about the same percentage intends to buy an iPhone for their next smartphone. About 45% own an Android phone, and about 44% expect to buy an Android phone for their next smartphone. Less than 3% own and intend to purchase a Windows Phone or BlackBerry.

iPhone 6, Android stickiness increases

The Raymond James team reported that this is the first time the intent to remain on the same smartphone platform is above 90% for both Android and iOS devices. In particular, Android’s retention has improved significantly, while iPhone stickiness has been quite high for some time.

This suggests that while the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are convincing iPhone owners to upgrade, they aren’t convincing Android users to switch. Only 3.6% of Android users intend to switch to an iPhone in the next 12 months, which is just slightly higher than the 3.2% of iPhone users who intend to switch to Android.

iphone-6-RJ iPhone 6

iPhone 6 upgrades expected to normalize

The analysts expect smartphone upgrades to normalize now that the holidays are over but believe iPhone upgrades will remain higher than Android upgrades.  About 12% of iPhone owners intend to upgrade in the next three months, compared to 41% in their September survey. About 43% of them intend to upgrade in the next year, which the analysts say is less than the about 50% they would expect to be a “statistically normal upgrade rate” due to the two-year average life of smartphones.

It still is a big higher than the about 40% of Android owners who plan to upgrade in the next year.

More iPhone data from China

In their report dated Dec. 28, 2014, Stifel analyst Aaron Rakers and his team examined data from imports and exports and explained how it correlates with iPhone shipments. Because of the data, they estimate that Apple shipped between 65 million and 75 million iPhones in the December quarter. They’re still projecting a range of 70 million and 75 million for their Apple model.

They reported an 8% increase in China’s exports of handheld wireless telephones and parts in September, a 42% increase in October and a 13% increase in November. Combined, this represents a year over year increase of 20%. They believe these numbers suggest that Apple “has seen significant increase in manufacturing velocity for the iPhone 6 / 6 plus.”

China’s Henan Province showed a significant increase in September to November at a 33% gain year over year, which they say has been highly indicative of Apple’s iPhone shipments. The Stifel team reported a 34% increase in mobile telephone output units for the period between September and November. There were reports that Hon Hai’s Foxconn factory in Henan Province would make two-thirds of iPhone volumes, which is why the correlation has been so high.

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