Most of the sales of Apple Inc.(NASDAQ:AAPL)’s new iPhone are due to new buyers, who own smartphones for the first time, according to a research report by Bernstein Research.
Only about a third of the iPhone 5 sold are from existing owners of the device, who are upgrading to a new version. More than two-thirds are new buyers.
This is very significant data for the company as it can better target its sales strategy.
According to Toni Sacconaghi of Bernstein Research - "....perhaps surprisingly, our analysis indicates that only about 30 percent of iPhones sold (or 38M) in FY 12 will be from customers upgrading from an older iPhone. The remaining 70 percent will come from new customers, most of whom have never owned a smartphone before."
Most of the new buyers are also coming from network service providers that Apple had tied up with 2009 and 2010, while buyers from newer network carriers are smaller.
These kinds of deals work with a lag effect as it takes a while for the tie-ups to translate into sales.
Those who have already bought iPhones in the last couple of year are less likely to change them now and it would take a while for existing users of older phones to switch to an upgraded version.
Sacconaghi expects that through 2013, new buyers will continue to be significant for the company, while in 2014 buyers upgrading to new versions will start to represent a significant chunk of iPhone 5 sales.
"As the smartphone market matures, and iPhone growth invariably slows, replacement sales will become an increasing share of total iPhone sales. Our model points to iPhone replacement sales amounting to 40 percent of total sales in FY 13 and more than 50 percent of units in FY 14 and higher thereafter," he wrote.