Apple, which is set to release a new iPhone on Tuesday, has increased its share of smartphone sales by converting Android customers and adding teenagers.
The migration from Android to Apple has accelerated as promotional discounts, financing plans and trade-in offers make higher iPhone prices less of a barrier. Wireless carriers sweetened their offers as they scrambled to gain or keep customers after T-Mobile merged with Sprint in 2020. When the combined company, the new T-Mobile, offered the iPhone 12 free with a 30-month contract, AT&T countered with a similar deal, said Cliff Maldonado of BayStreet Research, a smartphone research firm. It made switching painless.
Around the same time, Apple and wireless carriers began more aggressively promoting monthly payment plans. The plans have reduced the cost of a new iPhone to less than $40 a month from the $800 to $1,200 that customers had to pay upfront. The prices are lower for people who trade in used devices. The old iPhones, which could fetch up to $640, have been auctioned to buyers in Asia, who resell them at a markup, Mr. Maldonado said.
“The phone market is like the housing market,” he said. “You get equity, and pay over time.”