Tens of millions of iPhone owners are ready to upgrade to 2017 iPhones, fueling the so-called iPhone "supercycle," market research firm comScore reports.
Apple has always enjoyed a loyal fan base and each new product iteration attracts many existing customers looking to upgrade to the latest and greatest. A new report from comScore now reveals that tens of millions of legacy iPhone owners are looking to upgrade this year, so Apple should have plenty of takers.
iPhone Ownership At All-Time High In US
"Apple currently has more iPhone users in the U.S. than at any point in history, and it's been the iPhone 7 models driving its most recent growth push," comScore reports.
The new report released on Thursday follows comScore's 2017 U.S. Cross-Platform Future in Focus report from March, which revealed that in the fourth quarter of 2016, the United States had roughly 85.8 million iPhone owners aged 13 and above, and the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus made up 15 percent of those iPhones.
Those 85.8 million iPhones made up an all-time record, as iPhone ownership has never been higher. With any new hardware iteration, the previous iteration usually accounts for most units in circulation. In the iPhone's case, however, this means tens of millions of units.
According to comScore's report, at the end of last year roughly 48.4 million iPhone owners had an iPhone 6 series model, while some 21.9 million had an iPhone 5s or older model. Should the upgrade trend continue strong, a good part of those roughly 70 million iPhone 6 and 5s owners will upgrade to a 2017 iPhone.
iPhone Ownership Trends
Each year, iPhone ownership typically sees a spike in the quarter when Apple releases new models and discounts older versions. Apple boosted its smartphone sales back in 2014 when it offered a larger iPhone for the first time, introducing the iPhone 6 Plus phablet. That led to a much heftier user demographic as iPhone fans purchased iPhone 6 series models, translating to an impressive 53 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units in circulation in September 2016.
The iPhone 6 is gradually losing ground as existing users upgraded to the iPhone 7 or are planning to do so when it gets discounted when the 2017 iPhones hit the scene. At the same time, legacy iPhone owners are expected to fire up an iPhone "supercycle" when Apple unleashes its latest-generation models this fall.
A "supercycle" refers to a sudden spike in demand after a relatively weak fiscal year 2016. Apple saw a drop in revenue for three consecutive quarters last year, as the iPhone faced increased competition on the smartphone market and saw weaker than expected sales in China. The company's disappointing performance and missed goals even dealt a blow to CEO Tim Cook's salary for 2016.
Apple managed to hit stable ground last quarter with the help of the iPhone 7, beating Wall Street expectations and setting a new quarterly record as it bagged $78.4 billion in revenue thanks to 78.3 million iPhone units sold.
This year, Apple is expected to introduce three new iPhone models. Two of them are rumored to be iterative upgrades and arrive as the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, while the third will be a premium model with top-notch specs and an overhauled design, launching as the iPhone 8.