News: Overly Optimistic Report Says 92% of iPhone Users Will Ugrade to a New iPhone

Overly Optimistic Report Says 92% of iPhone Users Will Ugrade to a New iPhone

Over 90% of ride-or-die iPhone users will upgrade to the latest Apple smartphone, according to a recent survey. Really, though? Well, Morgan Stanley certainly seems to think so.

The investment banking firm published a report which states that 92% of iPhone users are either "somewhat likely" or "extremely likely" to upgrade to a new and improved Apple device when it comes out. Not to burst any bubbles here, but this is a very optimistic percentage when the vast majority of consumers are hanging onto their phones and not splashing cash on newer models.

The findings are based on an April 2017 survey of 1,000 smartphone owners in the US over the age of 18, and would indicate that the loyalty rate for Apple has increased 6 points from 86% last year. The tech giant's record high came in 2015 during the iPhone 6S launch, when it reached 93 percent.

iPhone loyalty peaked in 2015 with the iPhone 6S launch. Image by Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr

Speaking about the findings in a research note published on May 17, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty commented:

It's our belief that a maturing installed base that is accustomed to iOS and increased press around potential new technologies in the upcoming iPhone drove the strong year-over-year increase. Importantly, the rise in Apple's loyalty rates comes after Samsung, Apple's biggest competitor in the United States, introduced the Galaxy S8, which was available for pre-order starting March 30th. Apple's loyalty rate of 92% dwarfs that of all other vendors, with Samsung garnering a 77% retention rate, followed by LG (59%), Motorola (56%), and Nokia (42%).

But stats speak louder than words in this instance. Last year, Business Insider found that smartphone users in the US didn't upgrade for 22.7 months. In a nutshell, they weren't on the prowl for a newer model, contrary to these recent findings.

The overly optimistic report will be music to Apple's ears after all these iPhone 8 delay rumors. Analysts previously said this was due to "technical challenges," amongst other things, but Morgan Stanley is pretty adamant that they have "not yet seen delays in the supply chain" and expect production to commence on time and with the much-anticipated OLED display.

There was a cautionary undertone to the report, which emphasized that Morgan Stanley was remaining "conservative in our initial expectations for iPhone supply." Hmm ....

The fact is that consumer behavior has changed more than Morgan Stanley's somewhat simplistic findings would suggest. Yes, people are remaining loyal to the Apple brand, but will 92% of them upgrade to nan iPhone 8 that will reportedly retail at $1,000 or more? If they're currently in the iPhone Upgrade Program, maybe.

Of course, they don't have to upgrade to the iPhone 8 — they might simply upgrade to a lower cost iPhone like the iPhone 7S (if they come out) or an older model that's actually newer than the one they already own.

We'll just have to wait it out to know for sure ....

Cover image by Benjamin Geskin/Twitter

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