One of the factors that contributed to Samsung’s weak quarters last year is the iPhone 6 family of smartphones. Apple sold a record-breaking number of handsets in 2014 at the expense of rivals, with a staggering 74.4 million iPhones having been sold during the Christmas quarter. Now, it looks like the iPhone 6 buying frenzy is far from over.
As analysts from Citi Research and UBS have observed in research notes obtained by Business Insider, Apple is still selling an increasing number of iPhone 6 units — far more than expected at this time of year. With every year’s iPhone, sales tend to fall steadily following the launch quarter, but Apple continues to move a huge number of iPhone 6 models.
Most disturbingly for rivals, it looks like Apple is converting more Android users to iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus rather than first convincing existing iPhone users to upgrade.
Citi’s Jim Suva said that the iPhone 6 is the first iPhone in years that will have a more meaningful impact on smartphone market share, becoming an increasingly annoying problem for both Google and Samsung.
According to Citi, the iPhone 6 is the No.1 phone in U.S. and China, which are obviously major smartphone markets for Apple, Google and Samsung. However, the phone has convinced just 20% of existing iPhone users to upgrade, suggesting 80% of buyers are new smartphone users or are converting from other platforms.
The note suggests that 50% of Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus buyers are coming from other brands, mostly Android. Of the previous Android owners who purchased a new iPhone, it appears most of them have ditched Samsung handsets in favor of the iPhone 6.
Research also shows that about 12% of the existing iPhone customer base gets a new iPhone each quarter, suggesting the iPhone 6 might keep selling rather well in the near future, and steal even more market share from Google and Samsung.
UBS analyst Steven Milunovich says that Apple’s customer retention rate has gone down to 78% from 84%, but that’s still the highest percentage in the business, followed by Samsung with around 50%.