Android users sure love their upgrades.
While the upgrade cycle among iPhone users has lengthened, a new report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) shows the Android upgrade cycle has held fairly steady over the past three years.
Back in June, CIRP found the average age of an upgraded iPhone had increased by more than three months in three years’ time. But the new report shows the upgrade cycle for Android devices inched up by just three weeks over the same period.
According to CIRP, 66 percent of Android upgrades in the year ending in June 2016 were for devices two years old or less. That figure was down from 71 percent of upgraded devices in the year ending June 2013, but substantially more than the 51 percent of iPhone upgrades in the same age bracket in the year ended June 2016. iPhone upgrades in the two year or less bracket decreased 15 percentage points from 2013 to 2016.
While financing options are available to both Android and iPhone customers, CIRP said the Android operating system offers customers more device options – and, by extension, more features and price tiers – to choose from.
“We identified two potential reasons why iPhone upgrade timing has slowed: more incremental changes in features, and phone financing plans,” CIRP Partner and Co-founder Josh Lowitz said. “Only the latter of these factors, phone financing, would apply similarly to Android phone upgrade timing. Other factors, including the ability to switch between manufacturers and remain within the Android operating system, the variety of features offered by different manufacturers, and the price competition that comes with multiple options, appear to lead to earlier upgrades.”
Despite the amount of choice in the Android market, CIRP found brand loyalty was highest among Samsung customers, with 77 percent choosing to activate another Samsung device. Other major Android brands like LG and HTC had far less brand loyalty, with only 39 percent and 25 percent of customers, respectively, choosing a device from the same manufacturer.
CIRP did not comment on whether or how the recent Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall might impact this metric.