Report shows slowdown in growth rate of iPhone installed base

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It’s common knowledge that iPhone sales growth is slowing down these days, so instead of focussing on unit sales, Apple has been trying to impress investors with its growing installed base, because this drives growth in its services business.

Services comprised 20% of revenue in 2018, but more than 33% of gross profit. Which means the company cannot be happy with the news that growth in its U.S. installed base is tapering off.

CIRP (Consumer Intelligence Research Partners) this week published new estimates on Apple’s installed base in the U.S., which showed an increase of only 4 million, from 189 million to 193 million, since the end of December 2018.

The firm also believes that around 39 million iPhones were sold globally in Q1, which is a 25% drop from the same period a year ago. Perhaps Apple should look for the cause in the fact that the average iPhone selling price went up from $728 to $803.

In a statement, Josh Lowitz, one of CIRP’s co-founders said: “The U.S. installed base of iPhones continues to plateau.”

Exactly how big Apple’s international iPhone installed base really is, we don’t know. Apple claimed earlier in 2019 that it had reached 900 million, but there are huge variations in services monetisation and sequential growth across the globe.

At its latest earnings call, Apple management claimed that its worldwide installed base, including iPhones, iPads and Macs, is nearly 1.4 billion. Tim Cook said at the time: “Importantly, our active installed base of devices continues to grow in each of our geographic segments and set a new, all-time record for all major product categories.”

Apple is also growing the number of services available in its digital stores – and realising the importance of selling services beyond its own installed base, it has started offering services to users that use different platforms, such as video-streaming.


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  • I would suggest the only thing holding up the phone market share is iOS and a degree of elitism. What were the last innovations to the iPhone? Probably waterproofing and the OLED screen. Were they first with either? No. Rivals cannot be dismissed anymore by most measures of performance or spec.

    There are a large number of people invested in iOS. They’ve spent money on apps, they believe it more secure, they have a vague idea how most features work. Guess what? Many who fall into this category are older. Persuading them to buy new phones regularly is difficult, and they die! Think of their kids too – do they really want to be seen with the same phone as their parents?

    In other countries Apple are no longer the only consideration when someone has the money for a deluxe brand.

    Can Apple come up with any distinctive innovation? There are many doubters who believe the innovation culture is gone. Finally, if they did not have enough troubles of their own making we have Donald. Regardless of whether you think him right or wrong for the long term he has the potential to cause major problems with all the US tech companies that work closely with China on the short to medium term.