iPhone 5S, 5C lure fewer upgrades from prior model, report says

Only 6 percent of iPhone 5 owners have made the jump to the 5S or 5C, says research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

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
Apple's iPhone 5S and 5C lineup.
Apple's iPhone 5S and 5C lineup. Apple

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.

But the data collected by CIRP also indicated that a larger number of iPhone 5S and 5C buyers came from Apple's platform rather than from Android smartphones or feature phones.

"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.

Watch this: Apple's iPhone 5S: A close look