While Apple doesn’t publish its sales figures for the UK, we’ve estimated the number of iPhones bought per year in the United Kingdom using readily available data on smartphone penetration rates. We’ve also looked into the iPhone’s market share, along with the amount of money spent. The full methodology and sources can be found further down the page.
How many iPhones have been sold each year?
iPhone sales have been steadily increasing over the last 5 years. In 2017, 7.6 million iPhones were sold, more than double that of 2011 (3.2 million iPhones sales). Throughout this 6 year time frame from 2011 to 2017, more than 38 million iPhones have been bought. That’s almost one iPhone for every 2 people.
Apple’s market share was increasing year on year until 2017, where its growth stuttered slightly. In 2016 Apple held a 39.9% share of the smartphone market, but this fell to 39% in 2017. Apple’s market share had seen consistent growth from 2011-2016, but has still grown by 47.1% since 2011. Their share of the smartphone market was 26.5% in 2011 and stood at 39% in 2017.
We estimated the number of iPhones purchased per year by adding the number of new iPhone users to the number of existing iPhone users who would want an upgrade. This was estimated by:
Number of new iPhone users:
The number of new smartphone users each year was found by multiplying the UK smartphone penetration (from Statista) with that year’s UK population, as reported by the ONS, and subtracting from this the product of the smartphone penetration and the UK population of the previous year.
This was then multiplied by the average market share of the iPhone that year, according to Kantar. (n.b. Kantar’s data was updated monthly, which meant that we added each data set together to find this average).
Number of existing iPhone users upgrading that year:
The percentage of people upgrading to new iPhones every year was calculated from the results of a US Gallup poll.
Responders had the option to select: a) when a new model is released, usually about every year, b) as soon as your cellphone provider allows it, usually every two years, c) only when it stops working or becomes totally obsolete.
For option c), we approximated the average time for an iPhone to stop working as 3 years, as although iPhones can last longer, human error often causes them to break long before they die of natural causes.
The percentage of people who responded a certain way was multiplied by one divided by the number of years (e.g. 51% of respondents selected 2 years = 0.51 x 1/2).
This was completed for all three responses, and all were added together to determine the average number of years iPhone users take to upgrade.
The number of iPhone users in a year, minus the number of new iPhone users gives the number of pre-existing iPhone users. This was then divided by the average number of years iPhone users take to upgrade gives the number of iPhone users upgrading that year.
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Matt Mckenna Head of UK communications T: +44 20 8191 8806
Matthew Boyle is a mortgages and home services publisher at Finder. He has a 7-year history of publishing helpful guides to assist consumers in making better decisions. In his spare time, you will find him walking in the Norfolk countryside admiring the local wildlife.
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