What supercycle? Interest in latest iPhones nears all-time low

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iPhone X is just too darn expensive.
Photo: Belkin

Interest in Apple’s latest handsets is nearing an all-time low in the United States. A survey among customers with three of the largest carriers reveals the number of iPhone owners who plan to upgrade to a new iPhone is down more than seven percent.

Apple holds onto customers better than any other smartphone vendor. Services like iMessage, the App Store, and the iPhone Upgrade Program keep customers locked into the Apple ecosystem. But despite the arrival of the most exciting iPhone in years, that trend seems to be changing.

Interest in iPhone is falling

Cowen’s latest quarterly survey of smartphone customers has found that just 80.5 percent of AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint iPhone users plan to get another iPhone when their next upgrade is due.

That’s still a pretty high percentage, but it’s actually one of the lowest Cowen has seen since it started carrying out this survey in 2013. For instance, when asked the same question in the previous quarter, 87.6 percent of iPhone owners said they planned to upgrade to another Apple handset.

The results follow countless reports from Apple analysts who have warned that sales of iPhone X will be lower than previously anticipated. Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities last week slashed his shipment forecast for the current quarter to 18 million units.

That’s significantly fewer than the 20 million to 30 million units analysts previously predicted.

iPhone X’s price tag is still a problem

Cowen attributes this decline in interest to the price of iPhone X, and underwhelming improvements in the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. It also suggests that U.S. customers are simply satisfied with their handsets for longer and don’t feel a need to upgrade as frequently as they once did.

A surprising 34 percent of respondents said they plan to hold onto their existing phone for two or more years, which is a significant jump from 23 percent just a few years ago.

That could have something to do with the fact that smartphones are so powerful now, they work perfectly well for several years. It could also have something to do with the fact that those who can’t afford to spend $1,000 on iPhone X don’t see a need to upgrade to iPhone 8, which offers little extra.

Via: Fierce Wireless