When it comes to smartphones, consumers tend to upgrade on a regular basis, but it's not surprising that one group is more inclined to upgrade sooner than the other because of how the market is designed.

A report by the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners claims Android users tend to upgrade to a newer device faster than iPhone users do. This is expected since there is a multitude of hardware manufacturers producing Android devices. This gives Android users more choices, something iPhone users do not have.

Apple releases one or two iPhones on a yearly basis, which is one of the reasons why users tend to take a longer time to upgrade.

"Our earlier analysis of iPhone age indicates that the average age of an upgraded iPhone increased by more than three months over three years, while the age of upgraded Android phones increased by less than one month," said Josh Lowitz, cofounder of CIRP.

While Apple refreshes its smartphone and phablet line every year, a major upgrade is only released every other year. When a minor refresh is released, some Apple fans might decide to wait it out for the major refresh the following year.

Operating system support also plays a major role in the phone replacement cycle. Let's look at iOS 10, for example. The OS supports the Apple iPad 2 and several older iPhone models. The same cannot be said for Android because many users have had issues in the past when it comes to upgrading to the newest operating system.

Apple has done a great job in this regard, but it might come back to hurt the company if fans regularly continue to keep their old devices for a few years before upgrading.

The Cupertino company, however, shouldn't have much of a problem this year because 2016 is the year of major upgrades. We've witnessed the launch of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus and also seen the problems Samsung has been facing due to the exploding batteries of the Galaxy Note 7.

As grim as it sounds, Apple could take advantage of the misfortune of its biggest rival, but it should do so effectively and across different markets — even right at the heart of Samsung country.

Apple is planning to open an Apple Store in South Korea, and the supposed store will reportedly sit close to the Samsung stores within the same area. But what about brand loyalty?

Samsung leads the way in the realm of Android: 77 percent of Samsung smartphone owners tend to upgrade to another Samsung device, while LG and HTC have to contend with 39 percent and 25 percent respectively — something Apple may want to consider before it starts moving into Samsung's neighborhood.

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