Apple iPhone’s installed base increased by only 2% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to quarter one of 2020, according to Counterpoint Research.
Unlike sales or shipments data, the installed base figure tells us about the number of units of a product actually in use. Counterpoint Research says that expansion in its installed base is not part of Apple’s strategic focus. Rather than reducing ASP (average selling price) to increase installed base, Apple maintains its ASP and gets good revenue from accessories and services, adds the research group.
Comparing the quarter one (Q1) 2021 iPhone installed base with that in Q1 2020, initial sales of the iPhone 12 series were better than the iPhone 11 series. The iPhone 11 series’ share in the total iPhone installed base was at 15% in Q1 2020 compared to the iPhone 12 series’ 16% in Q1 2021. Counterpoint says that you should note that the iPhone 12 series’ release date was one month later than that for the iPhone 11 series. What’s more, the iPhone 12 series also competes with the low-tier iPhone SE 2020.
One generation old models’ share in this data also shows that the iPhone 11 series’ performance was better than the XS series. The iPhone 11 series performed well not only in its early days after launch but also maintained the momentum for a considerable period after the iPhone 12 series launch. The XS series accounted for 21% of the installed base in Q1 2020, but the iPhone 11 series accounted for 25% in Q1 2021, showing a 4% points difference.
The share of Pro models in new iPhones also improved in Q1 2021. The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max’s installed base accounted for 44% in Q1 2020 compared to the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max’s 54% in Q1 2021. Compared to their predecessors, the iPhone 12 series Pro models have more differentiated features, like in the camera.
With iPhone having a relatively small number of SKUs and long product life cycle, its most recent models don’t rank at the top when it comes to the iPhone installed base, according to Counterpoint Research. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 11 ranked first in Q1 2020 and Q1 2021 respectively.
Counterpoint’s research also shows that the iPhone 12 series performed well, with the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Max in the top 10 list in Q1 2021, while only the iPhone 11 was in the top 10 list of Q1 2020.
Counterpoint’s Smartphone Installed Base Tracker covers only newly purchased products. Apple’s latest “over 1 billion active iPhones” figure is similar to the figure for accumulated iPhone sales in five years. To meet this number, no device should exit the market. But this is a very unlikely scenario. Therefore, this figure likely includes refurbished phones and dormant devices. It is estimated that the proportion of new devices among these active devices is around 60%.