Hardly any iPhone 5 owners have upgraded to either the iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c, according to new data from research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP). Despite selling a record number of iPhones over opening weekend, it seems less and less people are willing to upgrade on an annual basis—about six percent of iPhone 5 owners upgraded during a 30-day period ending Oct. 20. Last year during the same period, 12-percent of iPhone 4s owners upgraded to the iPhone 5, though it’s worth remembering just how different the upgrade cycles are.
CIRP polled 400 U.S. phone customers that activated an Apple device from Sept. 20 to Oct. 20, and found that many of the people who were upgrading did previously own an iPhone—just not the iPhone 5. The data revealed few consumers came over from Android, either, meaning consumers who owned an iPhone 4s or older decided to stay in Apple’s guarded ecosystem. CIRP attributes this behavior to the “declining base of non-smartphone owners,” saying a smaller percentage of iPhone buyers upgraded from a basic or flip phone, compared to the year-ago launch.
Because the iPhone 5s is part of Apple’s small update cycle—iPhone 3G to 3GS, and iPhone 4 to iPhone 4s is another example—with minor design changes, Touch ID and newer guts, perhaps not many iPhone 5 owners saw the need to upgrade. Likewise, iPhone 5 owners are likely still one year into a two-year contract, which means the price to upgrade is more expensive than someone whose contract already expired.