iOS and Android Activations Now Split Evenly in the U.S., Research Shows

Activations of iOS and Android devices are now evenly split in the United States, with little sign of movement toward either platform dominating over the past two years, according to data sourced by Consumer Research Intelligence Partners (CIRP).

iPhone 12 v Android 2020
CIRP estimates that iOS and Android each had 50 percent of new smartphone activations in the year ending this quarter. iOS's share of new smartphone activations climbed from 2017 to 2020, but has now remained at its peak level for a second consecutive year.

cirp 2021 ios android activations share
CIRP Partner and Co-Founder Josh Lowitz said that the finding is significant because for several years, Android smartphones "had a significant edge, with over 60 percent of customers opting for an Android phone in most quarters. In the past couple of years, though, iOS has closed the gap, and now splits the market with Android."

Both Android and iOS users have had a high level of loyalty historically. Android loyalty has varied very slightly, in a narrow range of 90 to 93 percent in the past four years. iOS loyalty, on the other hand, has gradually increased over the past four years, from a low of 86 percent in early 2018 to 93 percent in the most recent quarter ending in June 2021.

cirp 2021 ios android loyalty
Loyalty and tendency to switch platforms may explain some of the change in the share of new smartphone activations, where iOS has gained loyalty in a market with a limited amount of switching. CIRP Partner Mike Levin explained:

In the most recent quarter, Apple had an edge in loyalty, with 93 percent of prior iPhone owners upgrading to a new iPhone, compared to 88 percent of Android owners staying with Android. Over several years, iOS gained about five percentage points in loyalty, while Android remained flat. This allowed Apple to steadily increase the iOS share of new smartphone activations.

CIRP's latest data was based on a survey of 500 U.S. subjects that activated a new or used smartphone in the period from April to June this year. Given the small sample size, there is certainly some margin of error to these numbers, but the data provides a reliable look at activations and loyalty over time as it uses the same survey each quarter.

Tags: CIRP, Android

Top Rated Comments

827538 Avatar
16 months ago
Not surprising really. iPhones offer much better long term support - my iPhone 6S will be supported into 2022 and even 2023 with security updates, I can't name a single Android phone that matches that level of support. This then feeds into resale value and total cost of ownership.

There's nothing appealing to me regarding Android, they might get some features first like 120Hz displays but Apple always does it better. Also their performance advantage is easily a year ahead of Android. I've yet to come across iOS malware, yet this is a sizable problem on Android.

-Security
-Updates
-Performance
-User Experience
-Privacy
-Refinement

Android wins in maybe first to market with new features and competes at the bottom end where margins are razor thin. If you just want a phone and don't care about the best there's always the SE.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
827538 Avatar
16 months ago

Apple is losing ground. Doesn’t look good.
The graph shows Apple increasing its' market share?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Agit21 Avatar
16 months ago
Apple is losing ground. Doesn’t look good.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bradman83 Avatar
16 months ago

Do you think that Ford has a monopoly in the automotive market because only Ford can provide warranties for Ford vehicles?
Well since you brought it up, we’ve been trying to reach you about your vehicle’s extended warranty…
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sasparilla Avatar
16 months ago
Makes sense. You've got a 3 year support time or less for most Android phones compared to 5-6 years of iPhones, their value falls off much more quickly than iPhones (if you're wanting to sell on eBay) and of course the privacy angle. It's really amazing its 50/50.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
aapl owner Avatar
16 months ago

Sounds like you haven't use Android much, very stable OS can't keep up with the bugs on iOS. I get a monthly security update and Android 11 has added many new privacy controls. My iPhone get updates that constantly slow down my 11 pro max.
Sure it does - roll eyes.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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