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New iPhones Shunned By Consumers, Old Models The Go

It’s a case of look but not buy for the new iPhones, as new research reveals that consumers are shunning the new least expensive iPhone XS which costs $1629, and the $2,369 iPhone XS Max for old model iPhones.

A global research study of more than 500,000 online shopping suggests that, while there’s an unprecedented level of interest in the new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Plus, the cost of the new phones is forcing buyers to turn to older, cheaper models as an alternative.

According to a seperate study of 1000 Australians more consumers are waiting for the cheap new iPhone XR due next month.

Around 5 per cent of respondents said they were waiting for the XR before deciding which model to buy.

The massive interest in old iPhones has outstripped demand for latest models for the first time in Australia, according to comparison website WhistleOut.

“We noticed that we were having a bumper iPhone year, and the interest in iPhones seemed to be dramatically increased on previous years, but we suspected that because of the price of the new iPhone … it was driving people to look at other models,” WhistleOut publisher Joe Hanlon said.


Instead consumers are buying last year’s iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which are priced from $979 to $1399.

“When we got into the data we found that, even though the interest in the iPhone is high, the proportion of that going to old iPhone models was much higher than the proportion going to the newer models, Mr Hanlon said.

According to the Financial Review in 2016, 24 per cent of all “share of voice” for mobile phones (measured by people clicking to purchase or read about phones) was in the latest iPhone (at that time, the iPhone 7), compared to just 10 per cent for older iPhones. In 2017, 17 per cent of all phone interest was in the new iPhone X and iPhone 8, compared to just 8 per cent interest in older iPhones.

But this year interest in older models has skyrocketed, accounting for 22 per cent of all interest, eclipsing the 16 per cent interest in the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Plus, according to WhistleOut’s analysis.

That’s unprecedented in Australia, but it is a trend that showed up last year in the US, where WhistleOut also operates, Mr Hanlon said.

If these early indicators of buyer intention do carry through to the sales checkout, then it will run counter to the sales trends that have emerged in the past few years, says Foad Fadaghi, managing director of the telecommunications analyst outfit Telsyte, which tracks Australian phone sales.

To date, the impact of higher prices has been to force people to delay upgrading their phone, rather than to force them to upgrade to a second-tier model, he says.

“Australians who are buying new smartphones still seem to gravitate towards the latest and best models when upgrading,” he said.

Regardless of which model people choose, Apple should still do well this year, Mr Hanlon said, and the trend towards looking at older models might well come to an end once the cheaper iPhone XR comes out.

“Obviously people are really interested in iPhones this year, and if price is a factor in them not choosing the iPhone XS, then a cheaper upgraded model could be the answer.

“The iPhone XR could be a really big hit,” he says.

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