Fewer than 10% of Americans are buying $1,000 smartphones, report says

Consumers apparently are still upgrading. At least according to a new report citing Q1 2020 iPhone sales.

According to CIRP (Consumer Intelligence Research Partners), the new iPhone 11 and 11 Pro/Pro Max models accounted for 66% of US iPhone sales during Q1 — that is January 2020 through to end of March 2020.

The iPhone 11 model accounted for 37% of unit sales during the quarter.

Previously the best seller was the iPhone XR. The iPhone 11 replaced that model when Apple released it in September 2019 (a veritable lifetime ago).

“iPhone 11 is the dominant model in the lineup,” said Josh Lowitz, CIRP Partner and Co-Founder. “Not surprisingly, it took the place of last year’s iPhone XR as the most popular phone. The more expensive iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max together improved
share, relative to the similar top-of-the-line iPhone XS and XS Max a year ago. Notably, the oldest and lowest-priced iPhone 8 and 8 Plus had a relatively small 13% share of sales, weaker than the phones in the same positions last year. The release of the new price leader iPhone SE and likely retirement of the 8 and 8 Plus should alter the sales mix and put even further emphasis on newly released models in the upcoming quarter.”

The CIRP findings are base don a survey of 500 US customers that purchased a device during Q1.

However, further research reveals that the age of a shopper’s previous iPhone is increasingly older, as denoted below with the purple bar — an increasing percentage of upgraders are waiting longer to upgrade:

iPhone Models US Sales Mix, Fiscal Quarters

Interestingly, per the report almost 10% of buyers in 2020 spring for the older iPhone 8. That suggests Apple’s strategy of introducing a budget iPhone SE could potentially fill a hole for those looking to upgrade without wanting to spend on a pricey flagship phone with all the latest bells and whistles.

Mike Carrall
Mike Carrall is a tech executive by day in Silicon Valley who writes under a pseudonym. Mike's passions include extreme sports, testing audio gear, trying (not so successfully) to restore a vintage 70's McIntosh receiver and spending time with his seven year-old daughter.