Android Bosses iPhone in Smartphone Activation Market Share

New iPhone activations are down to a low not seen in the U.S. smartphone market for the last six years, according to a new Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) report.

iphone 15 sizes
While CIRP notes that Apple's installed smartphone base is higher than recorded activations, the figures show its share of new iPhone activations fell from 40% to 33% over the past year, suggesting a shift away from the higher market shares Apple enjoyed in previous years.

Historically, around the time when competitors like Blackberry and Windows phones were more prevalent, iPhone's activation share hovered around one-third. This increased steadily until the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic when various factors contributed to a spike in activations. However, Apple's iPhone share appears to have reverted to its long-term average, with two out of three new smartphone activations now from Android devices.

CIRP suggests the decline is due to the increased price of modern smartphones as well as better durability. While innovation has slowed, there has been a shift from two-year subsidized purchases to more transparent buying plans, which has prompted consumers to hold onto their devices for longer. This trend appears to impact iPhone sales more significantly than those of Android devices, suggesting Apple may need to adjust its strategy to regain market momentum.

cirp 2023 4 iphone activation
The report covers a 12-month period ending each quarter and includes data from CIRP's quarterly survey of mobile phone customers. The aim of this approach is to remove the seasonal spikes typically associated with new device launches and holiday sales, providing a clearer view of ongoing trends, according to the firm.


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Top Rated Comments

LarryBaker Avatar
4 weeks ago
"Android Bosses iPhone"

Was this written by a teenager?
Score: 113 Votes (Like | Disagree)
contacos Avatar
4 weeks ago
Here is an idea that will never happen. Remove the Non-Pro iPhones and simply go back to selling "iPhone" and "iPhone Max"* or whatever you want to call it at a more competitive price point and the previous gen on a discount.

People may say "But I don't want to pay extra for "Pro" features that I don't need" but that is exactly the point, you should not have to pay extra to get the latest generation, it would simply be the latest iPhone and thats it. Remember "iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max" - no additional "Pro" nonsense.
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
User 6502 Avatar
4 weeks ago
not surprised. Apple has proposed the same phone for half a decade with little to no innovation other than name change, anti-consumer choices (old cpu in non-pro version, extortionate pricing models etc). The market reacted and it will react even more if Apple doesn’t change their ways. And their syrategy to rely on subscriptions and services will be hindered significantly by the European Union as well as legislation from other countries. Apple should focus on what it used to be good at: excellent hardware and great software.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HobeSoundDarryl Avatar
4 weeks ago
As prices rise, buyers scrutinize value proposition harder. "Wow! Now it costs $X,XXX. Can I get another year out of an 'almost as good' <thing> I already own?"

Apple needs higher pricing to keep the "another record quarter..." announcements train rolling down the track. Pleasing Wall Street (and especially the recurring spin of 'another record quarter') seems like it rules all decision-making these days... which is why so many decisions can feel "greedy" more than anything else. There is some price tier(s) where a segment(s) of even historical fans opt out and/or kicks the can for another year or three.

Consumers need a perception of greater value in new releases... a "bargain" if you will through a consumer lens... and not just in iPhone but in all Apple products. Instead, it feels like the Corp has forgotten where the revenue flow starts... and/or that another way to delight shareholders is as a byproduct of happier customers being moved to buy more stuff instead of maximizing profit on every single transaction.

I'm a 20+ year Apple everything guy in need of an updated MB. I was ready to buy on launch day of M2 MBair until I configured it as I wanted it. Unlike PCs where there is robust competition for upgrade "parts", Apple upgrade pricing is relatively ridiculous. So that easy Mac sale did not occur... nor have I "come around" since that launch... even at refurb offerings (10%-15% off "ridiculous" is still relatively ridiculous). Instead, I purchased a $55 third party battery to reinvigorate the existing MB for another year or two. This has me fully considering a PC laptop instead of MB. 5+ years ago the ONLY choices could have been MBpro vs. MBair. Now a PC is firmly in consideration.

What is the whole OCLP thing about? A hack to let people squeeze more years out of the aging Macs they already own. Is a very security-minded crowd turning to a third party hack so they can upgrade macOS which- among other things- promises more security (against hacks)? Think about it: choosing a fundamental hack for better protections against hacks. And then there's the other thought: look there, aging hardware CAN readily run macOS updates beyond when the Corp chooses to cut them off. With that hard proof, why doesn't the Corp just extend some useful life value? [rhetorical: we know]

5+ years ago when I had to run anything in Windows, I'd run it in a Mac via Bootcamp. Now, I've added a PC desktop for "old fashioned bootcamp" since ARM Windows is not full Windows.

5+ years ago, all of my computing would be done on an Apple-branded screen. I'm viewing this post on a Dell 5K ultra-wide screen. Why Dell? Much more screen R.E., multiple inputs to support "old fashioned bootcamp" too and a built-in hub with many 2024 useful ports instead only 3 of one type. Looks fantastic with the Mac I have AND the PC (and has 2 more inputs should I want to use it with anything else).

3+ years ago, I would only consider AirPods for buds. When my APP2s wore out and rumors of APP4s flying, I decided to try some $20-but-well-rated cheapies on Amazon to try to bridge the gap. They look, feel, sound and work as well as the old $169 APPs. So now AirPods is no longer a "must-or-bust" purchase.

HomePods? Nope, I chose the much more flexible and open Sonos for smart speakers, which work as well with Mac, Siri, Home, Airplay, Music, etc... and already offer Apple fan wants like true surround sound setups and soundbars. Sonos pricing is very much like Apple pricing. So unlike the buds proposition, Sonos was not about price but about relative VALUE for about the same money.

Similarly, that Dell monitor cost about the same as an ASD with stand option or an iMac 27" which had the same ASD monitor in it + an entire Mac + keyboard + mouse in box too. Again, the message is consumer VALUE.

These are the kinds of things that happen for some of us when a CORP goes too far towards pleasing shareholders at the (ever growing) expense of customers. We start considering OTHER options, try OTHER things and realize that our tech itches can mostly get scratched as well- or better- with other products... and/or at lower-to-much-lower prices. That "old fashioned bootcamp" PC purchase got me a gaming PC with TEN TBs of fast SSD and 32GB or RAM for LESS than only the 8TB upgrade price of Apple SSD (alone... not counting the Mac or RAM). AAA gaming??? It's already thoroughly established on PCs... as are countless other great apps NOT available for Mac.

While I did NOT expect it at all for only $20, I've owned the "temporary" buds for 2 months now and they are at least as great in my objective opinion as the $169 APP2s they replaced. I consider that shocking as an Apple guy... but ears don't lie.

5+ years ago, my household looked like an Apple store. Now there's only some Apple stuff. Hopefully in 5 more there's still at least something Apple. The trend is not their friend in this microcosm. How to "fix" it? Show me more consumer value for the money... like it seemed up to about 2015-17 or so... when the Corp margin target was >7% lower than where it is in 2024. Maybe I'm alone in such thinking?
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kerr Avatar
4 weeks ago
Apple’s greed is limitless. Every iPhone model is overpriced.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AlmightyKang Avatar
4 weeks ago

"Android Bosses iPhone"

Was this written by a teenager?
It's 07:25 CT now. They probably haven't had enough coffee yet.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)