South Africans will keep their old iPhones in 2019

Apple has struggled to sell its newest iPhones, due in part to pricing itself out of the smartphone market.

The top-of-the-range iPhone Xs 512GB costs R31,999 in South Africa, pricing it significantly above its counterparts from brands such as Huawei and Samsung.

For example, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro costs R18,999, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 costs R25,999.

Some of those unwilling to fork out over R30,000 for an iPhone have therefore decide to jump ship and purchase a Huawei or Samsung smartphone.

Other Apple users have chosen to use their older Apple devices for longer.

MyBroadband recently learned that the second-hand iPhone market is thriving in South Africa.

Joint MD of AppleDoctor Sean Joffe told MyBroadband that demand in South Africa is particularly high for Apple smartphones from the iPhone 7 and up.

He added recently that over December, AppleDoctor’s two top-selling devices were the iPhone 6 and iPhone 8, while the iPhone Xr is selling equal volumes to the iPhone Xs – proof, he claims, that customers are “shopping down.”

Keeping old iPhones

Joffe told MyBroadband that there is a trend of users keeping their smartphones for longer, rather than replacing them with a new model.

“The average person now keeps their phone for 31 months, and that number is growing,” said Joffe.

He added that the number of people who upgrade to newer devices is down by around 15%.

WeFix marketing manager Megan Quy concurred, stating that the natural life cycle of smart devices is being extended due to “technology and software advancements in the industry.”

iPhone Repairs in 2019

According to Joffe, AppleDoctor has also seen a 15% increase in iPhone repairs over December, as well as a record number of battery replacements.

While this could be attributed to a seasonal trend, Joffe said that month-by-month repair increases have been consistent and show no signs of slowing down in the future.

“Each new version of iOS is applied to the older models so there is really no reason to upgrade unless the device is under resourced in memory or the processor is too slow,” explained Joffe.

AppleDoctor saw three-times the demand for new batteries 2018, added Joffe, showing that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of how easily iPhone batteries can be replaced.

Joffe also speculated that we may see a growing interest in 36 month contracts due to the continued trend to repair rather than replace iPhones.

Saving money

Quy said that financial struggles in South Africa are another reason for increased repair rates.

“During harder economic times, customers would prefer to repair versus replace, and are more hesitant to commit to a contract,” said Quy.

She said that the increased life cycle of new smart devices allows for their “continued use through repair” – which is “more economical for a customer”.

Brands besides Apple are also bringing out “great phones at attractive prices”, she added.

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