The iPhone 6 and subsequent models now dominate the active installed base of iPhones in the US market. According to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), there are now roughly 110 million iPhones in the US, 62 million of which are iPhone 6 or later models.
The most widely distributed single model is the iPhone 6. After that, the 5S and 6P have roughly equivalent penetration, it appears.
Confirming the fears of some Wall Street anaylsts, growth of the installed iPhone base appears to have slowed in the recent past. CIRP says average sequential growth for the past two years has been nine percent per quarter. CIRP still points out that “the US installed base of iPhone users roughly doubled from December 2013 to December 2015.”
The firm uses a combination of sales data and consumer surveys to arrive at its estimates.
Distribution of Active iPhones in US Market
If we assume the numbers are accurate and that Apple will introduce an iPhone 7 model in September, the company could sell 40 million units in the US in holiday quarter. That would represent iPhone 5 owner upgrades and some number of iPhone 6 replacements. In the 2015 holiday quarter, Apple sold a total of 75 million iPhones globally.
If the iPhone 7 has breakthrough features, such as (for Apple) wireless charging, a longer batter life, much better camera (challenging) or more memory for the same price, those kinds of things could boost sales further. The rumored four-inch iPhone 5e is a wild card. However, it’s unlikely to see big US sales given the smaller screen.
If we use CIRP’s iPhone owner estimate and comScore’s market share figures, we derive a US smartphone market of roughly 260 million people. That probably slightly undercounts the actual number of smartphone owners in the US.
Going forward, the battle will be less about acquiring new users — although 20 percent of the US mobile market has yet to upgrade — than luring users from another platform. Indeed, Apple and Google look increasingly like Coke versus Pepsi as the US smartphone market matures.