Study: More First-Time Smartphone Buyers Turn to Apple

Does the decline of the first-time smartphone buyer presage the end of Android’s popularity? According to a recent report from market research company Kantar Worldpanel, the declining number of first-time smartphone buyers could be linked to the declining sales of Android-based devices.

Kantar Worldpanel’s data reveals that U.S. sales of Android-powered devices declined by 7.6 percent in the three-month period that ended in July 2013 when compared to the same period last year. Meanwhile, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) saw its sales of iOS devices increase by 7.8 percent over the same time period.

The market research company believes that this trend may be due to the “gradual disappearance of the first-time smartphone buyer in the United States.” According to Kantar Worldpanel’s data, 52 percent of consumers that bought an Android device between July 2011 and July 2012 were upgrading from a basic feature phone. However, this percentage declined to 46 percent over the period between July 2012 and July 2013.


On the other hand, the declining number of first-time smartphone buyers doesn’t appear to be affecting Apple. The Cupertino-based company’s share of this consumer demographic has remained steady at 43 percent over the past two years. In fact, the iPhone 4 has actually increased its share of first-time smartphone buyers by 6 percent over the past 12-month period ending in July 2013.

Besides showing a decline in Android’s overall sales, this data may also indicate that some of Android’s first-time smartphone buyers are switching to an iPhone when it comes time to replace their current device. Apple may soon get an additional sales boost from its upcoming iPhone premiere.

The company is widely expected to unveil two new iPhone models at a media event on September 10. One these iPhone models will be a lower-cost plastic version that could give first-time smartphone buyers another option in the mid-range smartphone market.

Here’s how Apple has traded over the past five days.


Follow Nathanael on Twitter (@ArnoldEtan_WSCS)

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