The average iPhone has been active for 18 months

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iPhone XS box gold
People are holding onto their smartphones for longer than ever.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The average iPhone has been active for 18 months, a new report from Strategy Analytics suggests. That compares to 16.5 months for Samsung handsets.

Overall, it seems that people are upgrading their phones at a slower rate. That’s reportedly as a result of “diminishing innovation,” which provides less of a reason to do so. It also likely has a whole lot to do with increased prices.

“Operators and device brands face significant inertia given consumer perception of diminishing innovation or marginal value add in successive generations of flagship devices,” said David Kerr, Senior VP at Strategy Analytics. “At the same time, vendor pursuit of profitability has seen smartphone prices rising towards and above $1,000. Prices for 5G phones will be a key barrier despite 1 in 4 recognizing it as being important for their next device.”

The research says that Apple and Samsung are the two brands with the most customer loyalty. In both cases, 70% of customers plan to purchase another handset from the same maker. After this, there is a “huge separation” with second tier vendors LG and Motorola. In both cases, fewer than 50% of customers plan to make a repeat purchase.

Samsung reportedly leads in market share among Gen X, referring to customers between 40 and 54 in age. However, among Gen Z — between 18 and 24 years old — Samsung trails Apple by around 40 points. Gen Z users are also more likely to be interested in high end camera features.

How often do you upgrade your phone? What do you base your upgrade decisions on? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.