The new iPhones have apparently convinced only a small percentage of iPhone 5 owners to upgrade.
Polling 400 US phone customers that activated an iPhone between September 20 and October 20, research firm CIRP found that only 6 percent of iPhone 5 owners jumped to an 5S or 5C. In contrast, 12 percent of iPhone 4S owners had upgraded to the iPhone 5 over the same period last year.
Further, among the two-thirds of those polled who upgraded from any iPhone to the 5S or 5C in September and October, fewer jumped ship from the iPhone 5 relative to the number of all iPhone owners who moved from the 4S to the 5 last year.
"Ideally, Apple attracts a significant percent of its customers from Android and other systems," CIRP partner and co-founder Mike Levin said in a statement. "At the most recent launch, though, Apple saw an increase in the share of customers that already had an iPhone. Perhaps because of the declining base of non-smartphone owners, a smaller percentage of iPhone buyers upgraded from a basic or flip phone, compared to the year-ago launch."
Do the results signal a spiraling interest in the iPhone? Or do they mean that a fair number of people have passed on the 5S or 5C in anticipation of the iPhone 6?
Apple releases a major new iPhone once every two years, with a minor S upgrade in between. It seems reasonable to assume that the minor upgrades attract fewer people than do the major ones. A certain number of iPhone 5 and Android owners could simply be holding out for the next-generation iPhone.