iPhone 5C snags half its buyers from rival brands

The cheaper iPhone convinces a broader range of users to take a bite out of Apple, says Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
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Watch this: iPhone 5C: Colorful, less expensive, just as good as last year

The iPhone 5C has lured almost half of its users from Samsung, LG, and other rival smartphone makers, according to research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Many Apple analysts and watchers expected the company to launch a truly low-cost international iPhone. But even with a starting price of $99 on contract and a full price of $549, the 5C still is reaching a wider audience than Apple typically draws, according to smartphone sales data from Kantar released Monday. As such, more new customers are trying the Apple brand for the first time, prompting many to jump ship from other smartphones.

"The good news for Apple is that this wider appeal is attracting significant switching from competitors," Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, said in a statement. "Almost half of iPhone 5C owners switched from competitor brands, particularly Samsung and LG, compared with 80 percent of 5S owners who upgraded from a previous iPhone model."

iPhone 5C buyers tend to make less money and be slightly older than those who opt for a 5S, according to Sunnebo. Around 42 percent of 5C owners earn less than $49,000 versus just 21 percent of 5S owners, and the average 5C customer is 38 years old compared with an average age of 34 for 5S buyers.

Combined, the 5S and 5C have boosted Apple's worldwide market share, said the research firm, though not with the same impact achieved by the iPhone 5.

"In almost all markets, the iPhone 5S and 5C releases have given iOS a significant bounce compared to the previous month," Sunnebo said. "Generally, Apple's share of the market still remains lower than when the iPhone 5 was released, although this is not wholly unexpected as shoppers tend to react more positively to 'full' releases than incremental improvements such as the 5S and 5C."