iPhone excitement declining each year, says analysts


Customers excitement over each year's latest iPhone is waning.
Customers excitement over each year’s latest iPhone is waning.

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Do you find yourself becoming less and less excited about Apple’s newest iPhone each year? If so, you’re not alone.

A recent study shows that folks are losing enthusiasm over the newest release of Apple’s flagship product, the iPhone, with each passing year. 

Analysts at Citi Research Innovation Lab poured over Google search trend data covering the past 6 years, going as far back as the iPhone 5 which was launched in 2012. The data shows that while there’s still that initial spike in Google searches surrounding each September’s major Apple event, even that has been declining over the years. 

“We observed there are significant spikes for web searches after the launch event each year. We also see the momentum has been decreasing over time,” says Citi. Analysts believe this data shows that “the market has been maturing, and customers are getting less excited for each new generation of iPhone.”

Citi suspects what is likely happening is that “a slowdown in innovation and the saturation of iPhone” in an now busy smartphone market has led to this decreased enthusiasm.

A similar iPhone study by Statista released last month came to an identical conclusion. And this study was before Apple’s iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR announcement. Citi’s report confirms the decline in excitement for this year too.

While Apple updates the iPhone line each year, these upgrades do seem to become less significant with each passing iPhone model. In the earlier days of the iPhone, customers were treated to huge improvements to the smartphone’s camera, screen, and other features. However, what felt revolutionary then has become standardized across the entire smartphone industry. Currently technology has been pushed to its limit. Personally, I went from upgrading my phone every 2 years to sticking with the iPhone 6S.

It’s not all bad news for Apple, however. Analysts note that declining “excitement” based on how many people are searching Google for the latest iPhone each year doesn’t automatically translate to declining sales. In fact, analysts still think “single-digit” growth for the iPhone is “achievable.”

A chart showing a decline in Google searches surrounding the latest iPhone each year.

A chart showing a decline in Google searches surrounding the latest iPhone each year.

Image: CITI INNOVATION RESEARCH LAB / BUSINESS INSIDER

Looking over this chart, though, there’s certainly a worrisome outlook for this year’s iPhone line. While the iPhone 5 seems to have been far and away the peak of iPhone mania, the other major iPhone releases didn’t follow a straight downfall. The iPhone X release last year peaked interest and clearly excited customers. Unfortunately, so far, this year’s iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR lineup can’t say the same. “Excitement” as evaluated by Google search is at its lowest ever, even fairing worse than the more minor releases such as the iPhone 5S and 6S.

It’s clear that Apple needs to something to get people excited about the iPhone again, before it does eventually start to correlate into lower sales.

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