iPhone 13 Post-launch Survey: Purchase intent drops 20% as Apple users underwhelmed by new iPhone

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An overwhelming 64% of Apple users think the new iPhone 13 lineup is “not very” or “not at all” exciting, the survey reveals.

Apple, on September 14, introduced a slew of new hardware, including its much-anticipated iPhone 13 lineup, iPad 10.2 (2021), iPad Mini (2021), and Apple Watch Series 7.

Despite being an incremental upgrade over its predecessor, the new iPhone lineup boasts a few firsts for Apple, with the Pro models featuring a 120Hz ProMotion display and 1TB storage option.

Like the iPhone 12, the iPhone 13 series comprises of four models — 5.4-inch iPhone 13 Mini, 6.1-inch iPhone 13, 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro, and 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max, and all four of them went on sale shortly after the launch for starting prices of $699, $799, $999, $1099 respectively.

Now, as Apple ships the first batch of iPhone 13 preorders, we collected responses from more than 5000 iPhone users with an older model on what they think of the new lineup, whether they intend to upgrade, reasons why they are or are not making the switch, and more.

Note: The survey included more than 5000 iPhone users, aged 18 years or older, based in the US.

 

SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • When asked what they think of the new iPhone 13 lineup, 14.4% of Apple users said it is “extremely” or “very exciting”; 21.5% rated it “somewhat exciting”; 64.1% deem it “not very” or “not at all” exciting.
  • 23.2% of existing iPhone users intend to upgrade to iPhone 13; purchase intent down 20.5% compared to a pre-launch survey published two months ago.
  • iPhone 13 Pro is the most popular choice among upgraders at 42.5%, followed by iPhone 13 Pro Max (26.3%), standard iPhone 13 (22%), and finally iPhone 13 Mini (9.2%).
  • Upgraders revealed ‘120Hz ProMotion display on Pro models’ (34.1%), ‘Longer battery life’ (25.3%), ‘Just due for an upgrade’ (15.7%), ‘Locked into yearly upgrade/trade-in program’ (10.5%), and ‘Improved camera features such as Cinematic mode, Photographic Styles, etc.’ (5.4%) as top reasons for considering the upgrade.
  • Meanwhile, ‘Lack of Touch ID’ (29.3%), ‘No major features to warrant an upgrade’ (19.5%), ‘My current phone works fine’ (12.1%), ‘Lack of always-on display’ (9.6%), and ‘Doesn’t have notch-free design’ (7.3%) are among the top deal-breakers, according to Apple users who don’t want to upgrade.
  • When iPhone users who don’t plan to buy iPhone 13 were asked about their future smartphone upgrade plans, 36.8% said they will wait for the launch of iPhone 14, 32.3% won’t upgrade in the next two years, 16.1% are migrating to Android, 11.3% are buying an older iPhone model, and 3.5% are undecided.
  • Google is the most popular brand of choice among Apple switchers at 45.1%, followed by Samsung (41.8%), OnePlus (8.4%), Motorola (3.7%), and ‘Other’ (1%).
  • 18.2% of Apple users said they intend to buy one of the new iPads, with a majority (72.6%) of them opting for the iPad Mini (2021) and 27.4% going for the iPad 10.2 (2021) model.
  • Only 7.5% said they intend to purchase the new Apple Watch Series 7 smartwatch after it goes on sale.

 

Apple users largely unimpressed with the new iPhone 13 range

We asked iPhone users to rate on a scale of 1 to 5 on what they think of the iPhone 13 line, and the responses were:

A chart to show how excited Apple users are about the iPhone 13 launch
  • A mere 14.4% of Apple users feel the new iPhones are either “extremely” or “very” exciting.
  • More than two-in-10 (21.5%) rated it “somewhat” exciting, while a majority (64.1%) of Apple users think the iPhone 13 range is “not very” or “not at all” exciting.

 

Nearly a quarter intend to upgrade to iPhone 13; purchase intent down 20% from pre-launch levels

When asked whether they intend to upgrade to any of the new iPhone 13 models, the responses were:

Do you indent to upgrade to the iPhone 13?
  • About a quarter (23.2%) of respondents with an older iPhone model said they intend to switch to iPhone 13.
  • Surprisingly, the new figure indicates a 20.5% drop from a pre-launch survey published two months ago that found the purchase intent for iPhone 13 to be 43.7%.
  • Meanwhile, a majority (76.8%) of existing iPhone users revealed they are not interested in the iPhone 13 lineup.

As a follow-up question, we asked potential buyers (respondents who answered ‘yes’ to whether they would consider the upgrade) which of the four iPhone 13 models they would choose when they upgrade, and here are the results:

Which iPhone 13 models will you opt for when you upgrade?
  • The 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro with a starting price of $999 is the most popular pick at 42.5%.
  • The largest iPhone 13 Pro Max featuring a 6.7-inch display and starting price of $1099 takes the second spot at 26.3%, closely followed by the $899 6.1-inch iPhone 13 model with 22% votes.
  • And finally, the 5.4-inch iPhone 13 Mini with a starting price of $799 is the model of choice for 9.2% of prospective iPhone upgraders.

 

Upgraders reveal ‘120Hz ProMotion display’ and ‘longer battery life’ as top reasons for considering iPhone 13

We further asked the same set of prospective buyers (respondents who said ‘yes’ to whether they would consider iPhone 13) to pick the main reason why they plan to switch, and the responses – in order of the votes received – were:

Note: Respondents were allowed to select only one option.

What is the main reason you are switching to an iPhone 13?
  • “120Hz ProMotion display on Pro models” – 34.1%
  • “Longer battery life” – 25.3%
  • “No particular reason; just due for an upgrade” – 15.7%
  • “Locked into yearly upgrade/trade-in program” – 10.5%
  • “Improved camera features (Cinematic mode, Photographic styles, etc.)” – 5.4%
  • “More storage space (1TB) for Pro Models” – 3.2%
  • “Faster Processor (A15 Bionic)” – 2.6%
  • “Smaller notch up front” – 1.5%
  • “New color options (Pink, Starlight, Sierra Blue)” – 1.1%
  • “Support for dual eSIMs” – 0.6%

A high refresh rate display has consistently ranked among the most wish-listed features of iPhone 13 in our previous surveys. And so this should come as no surprise: A little over 34% cited the inclusion of a 120Hz ProMotion display on iPhone 13 Pros as the primary reason why they intend to upgrade.

Meanwhile, more than a quarter (25.3%) of Apple users are upgrading, not because of some innovative new feature, but simply because of the longer battery life of the latest iPhone range. Apple claims that iPhone 13 Mini and iPhone 13 Pro will fetch you an additional 1.5 hours of usage on a single charge, while iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro Max will last 2.5 hours longer than their respective predecessors.

15.7% have no particular reason for upgrade besides replacing their aging iPhone with a new one, whereas more than 1-in-ten (10.5%) upgraders are locked into some yearly upgrade/trade-in program that lets them buy a new iPhone at a discount.

5.4% are impressed with the new camera features such as Cinematic mode that can shoot movie-style videos with shallow depth of field and automatic focus adjustments, but 3.2% and 2.6% respectively noted 1TB storage option and faster A15 processor as deciding factors.

Among the least popular purchasing factors were the reduction in notch size (1.5%), availability of new color options like Sierra Blue (1.1%), and support for dual eSIMs (0.6%).

 

‘Lack of Touch ID’ and ‘not enough major features’ among top deal-breakers

When the remaining iPhone users (respondents who answered ‘no’ when asked whether they would consider an upgrade) were asked about the reason why they won’t upgrade to iPhone 13, the responses – in order of votes received – were:

Note: Respondents were allowed to select only one option.

What is the main reason you won't upgrade to an iPhone 13?
  • “Lack of Touch ID” – 29.3%
  • “No major features to warrant an upgrade” – 19.5%
  • “My current iPhone works fine; don’t feel the need to upgrade” – 12.1%
  • “Lack of always-on display” – 9.6%
  • “Doesn’t have notch-free design” – 7.3%
  • “Missing 120Hz ProMotion display on base models” – 5.7%
  • “Too expensive” – 5.2%
  • “Lack of USB-C port” – 2.9%
  • “Do not like the color options” – 2.4%
  • “No support for reverse wireless charging” – 2.1%
  • “Superstition that ’13’ is an unlucky number” – 1.7%
  • “No support for rumored satellite communications” – 1.4%
  • “Doesn’t have rumored WiFi 6e connectivity” – 0.8%

Nearly three-in-10 (29.3%) Apple users who are not interested in iPhone 13 cited lack of Touch ID as the main reason they won’t upgrade.

Among the same set of respondents, around two-in-10 (19.5%) think the iPhone 13 has no groundbreaking new features to warrant an upgrade, while another 12.1% said their current iPhone works fine and don’t feel the need to upgrade.

Other popular deal-breakers were found to be lack of always-on display (9.6%), notched design (7.3%), missing 120Hz display on non-Pro models (5.7%), and pricing (5.2%).

Meanwhile, smaller shares of 2.9%, 2.4%, and 2.1% say the main reason holding them back from switching to iPhone 13 is the lack of a USB-C port, limited color options, and absence of reverse wireless charging, respectively.

Interestingly, 1.7% of them won’t upgrade because of the superstition that the number ’13’ would bring bad luck (triskaidekaphobia).

Only a mere 1.4% are concerned about the lack of the highly-anticipated satellite communication feature, whereas an even smaller 0.8% are bothered by the lack of rumored WiFi 6e connectivity.

 

Of those not upgrading, 37% will wait for the launch of the iPhone 14 before making an upgrade decision

When the same set of respondents – who said ‘no’ to buying iPhone 13 – were asked about their smartphone upgrade plans, the responses – in order of votes received – were:

If you are not upgrading what best describes your iPhone plans?
  • “Will wait for the iPhone 14” – 36.8%
  • “Not upgrading in the next 2 years” – 32.3%
  • “Switching to an Android phone” – 16.1%
  • “Buying an iPhone 12 or older model” – 11.3%
  • “Not decided” – 3.5%

Nearly four-in-10 (36.8%) Apple users not buying the iPhone 13 are willing to wait for the launch of the iPhone 14 next year before making an upgrade decision.

Almost one in three (32.3%) intend to stick with their current smartphone for two more years before considering an upgrade.

16.1% said they plan on switching to an Android phone, whereas 11.3% will instead get an iPhone 12 or older model.

The remaining 3.5% have not yet decided on their smartphone upgrade plans.

 

Google, and NOT Samsung, is the most preferred brand among Apple defectors

Next, Apple users who are switching to Android were asked which brand they are considering for their next smartphone purchase, and the responses – in order of votes received – were:

Which of the following brands are you considering for your next smartphone purchase?
  • Google – 45.1%
  • Samsung – 41.8%
  • OnePlus – 8.4%
  • Motorola – 3.7%
  • Other – 1%

 

Interests in other new Apple products

Besides the iPhone series, Apple refreshed its entry-level iPad lineup with two new models: a $329 10.2-inch iPad and a $499 8.3-inch iPad Mini and its smartwatch lineup with the launch of the Apple Watch Series 7.

The new 10.2-inch iPad is an incremental upgrade with a 20% performance bump (A13 Bionic), True Tone display, 64GB base storage, and a 12MP front camera.

The 2021 iPad Mini, on the other hand, comes with a new design, A15 Bionic chipset, power button Touch ID, USB-C port, 5G connectivity, True Tone display, 64GB base storage, and 12MP front and rear cameras.

Apple Watch Series 7 features a wraparound design with softer, more rounded corners than its predecessor, a bigger screen real estate, crack-resistant screen, QWERTY keyboard, fast charging support, and IP6X dust resistance, and costs $399.

With both iPads up for sale at Apple stores and other retailers and the Apple Watch Series 7 preorder date fast approaching on October 8, we asked more than 5000 Apple iPhone users whether they intend to buy any of them, and we found out:

Will you be buying new 2021 iPad?
  • 18.2% of Apple users look forward to buying either of the new Apple iPads.
  • Of those who said ‘yes’ to buying a new iPad model, an overwhelming 72.6% prefer the iPad Mini (2021), while 27.4% will go for the iPad 10.2 (2021).
Will you be buying a 2021 Apple watch?
  • Meanwhile, only 7.5% of Apple iPhone users said they intend to get the new Apple Watch Series 7 smartwatch.

 

Conclusion

A whopping 64.1% think the new iPhone line is “not very” or “not at all” exciting, while only a mere 14.4% find it “extremely” or “very exciting.”

According to the survey, less than a quarter (23.2%) of Apple users are looking to replace their older iPhone with a brand new iPhone 13.

The new figure indicates a 20.5% decline in purchase intent compared to a pre-launch survey published two months ago.

If this is any indication, the new iPhone 13 range may have failed to live up to the pre-launch expectations for a majority of iPhone owners, who were expecting significant additions like under-display Touch ID, always-on display, and notch-less design.

Of those not planning to upgrade, 36.8% will wait for the launch of iPhone 14, 32.3% have no plans to upgrade in the next two years, 16.1% are migrating to Android, 11.3% are buying an older iPhone model, and 3.5% are undecided.

Another interesting aspect of the survey is that a relatively higher share of Apple defectors would prefer switching to a Google Pixel phone (45.1%) over a Samsung Galaxy phone (41.8%).

In contrast, Samsung (46%) emerged as the top favorite brand among Apple switchers in a brand loyalty survey published in March this year, followed by Google in the second spot with 35% votes.

A possible reason for this change in brand preference could be the hype surrounding the upcoming Google Pixel 6 lineup, which is set to come out with a major design overhaul and an in-house Tensor chipset.

 

Methodology

The report is based on an online survey – conducted between Sept 23-30, 2021 – involving more than 5000 Apple iPhone users, aged 18 years or older, based in the United States.

The responses to the survey were collected without storing any personally identifiable information of the involved respondents.

The motive of the survey was to find out what existing iPhone users think of the new iPhone 13 series, whether they intend to upgrade, reasons why they are or are not making the switch, and more.

The survey also gauged interest in other new Apple products, including iPad 10.2 (2021), iPad Mini (2021), and Apple Watch Series 7.