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Why would someone who bought an iPhone 5c last year now pay top dollar for an iPhone 6?

Published Sep 5th, 2014 8:15PM EDT
iPhone 5c Vs. iPhone 6

Online survey company Survata has just come out with a new poll of nearly 900 consumers that asked them their interest in upgrading to the iPhone 6. Unsurprisingly, iPhone 5 owners — who likely have two-year contracts expiring this fall — were the most willing to upgrade, as fully 36% of them said they were planning to buy a new iPhone.

However, the one thing that intrigued us most about the survey was that 15% of iPhone 5c owners said they were likely to upgrade even though the year before they’d just spent money to buy the cheaper version of the iPhone. Why are they now willing to pay top dollar for the iPhone 6 when they didn’t want to pay top dollar for the iPhone 5s last year?

Survata put us in touch with a couple of iPhone 5c owners who took the survey and we asked them their reasons for the switch. Their answers show us that consumer behavior is indeed mysterious and that people make decisions for all kinds of reasons that can’t be easily categorized.

Orpheus Richards, an iOS engineer at video-sharing app Ocho, explained that he actually preferred the 5c to the 5s because “it felt smoother, lighter and less fragile than the 5s.” Now he’s paying more to upgrade to the iPhone 6 in part because he’ll need it for his job — since Ocho is a video-sharing app, owning an iPhone 6 will help him learn more about optimizing videos for bigger displays. And as a side benefit he says that “maybe I can get my girlfriend (Samsung user) to quit making fun of my baby screen.”

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Claudia Stringham, an executive assistant at digital marketing firm who went with the iPhone 5c because her brother told her that it was basically as good for her needs as the 5s but just $100 cheaper. So why is she now making the move to the iPhone 6 just a year later?

“When I get a new phone I will go with iPhone 6 as long as there aren’t any major issues with it,” she explains. “I stick with Apple for my phone because I have had really good customer service with them when an issue does come up with my phone.  It’s nice not to have to worry about what happens if it breaks. There is comfort in the fact I can walk down the street and if they can’t fix it, they replace it. Honestly, I haven’t read any of the specs for the 6 but the iPhone 5c does drive me a little nuts because cases and other accessories are not offered as frequently as they are for the 5s. When I upgrade for to the 6 it will probably just be for the sake of uniformity.”

And there you have it: Two people who bought the 5c last year are buying the iPhone 6 this year for completely different reasons.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.