Apple Users Are Keeping Their Devices for Longer as Upgrades Slow

old macbook

Data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) shows that Apple users are holding onto their devices for longer periods as upgrade cycles decelerate.

Changing Upgrade Patterns

Recent trends indicate that Apple customers are increasingly choosing to keep their iPhones, iPads, and Macs for extended durations before opting for upgrades. Over the past year, 71% of iPhone owners and 68% of Mac owners reported that their previous devices were over two years old, compared to 63% and 59% in 2020.

Mac Users and Extended Usage

For Mac users specifically, CIRP’s data highlights a notable rise in the longevity of device usage. Currently, 56% of Mac users keep their laptops or desktops for three years or more, up significantly from 40% in 2020. This shift has led to a decrease in users upgrading their Macs within three years. CIRP attributes this change to the transition to Apple Silicon, which started in 2020 with the M1 chip’s release. The new ‌Apple Silicon‌ chips have brought considerable improvements in performance and energy efficiency, allowing Macs to handle demanding tasks for extended periods.

Economic and Technological Influences

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic likely also played a role in this behavior shift. The pandemic initially spiked demand for technology to support remote work and online education, but subsequent economic uncertainty led many consumers to be more cautious with their spending. As a result, they chose to extend the lifespan of their existing devices instead of purchasing new ones. Additionally, improvements in MacBook battery life have met many users’ needs, further reducing the urgency to upgrade frequently.

Insights from Industry Observers

This trend has also been noted by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who recently observed a significant increase in the percentage of ‌iPhone‌ and Mac users whose previous devices were over two years old. Gurman attributes this shift to several factors, including fewer groundbreaking features in new models, increased device durability and reliability, and evolving user needs. With the growing reliance on streaming services and web-based applications, many users find their current devices sufficiently powerful for everyday tasks. Consequently, traditional upgrade motivations, such as the need for better cameras, more storage, or faster processing speeds, have diminished.

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