Thirteen years after going on sale, the iPhone remains the world’s most popular smartphone, and according to an estimate by Above Avalon’s Neil Cybart, Apple surpassed the billion iPhone users milestone last month.
While the competitors continue to either shamelessly copy the iPhone or be heavily influenced by it, Apple continues to find ways to keep the device at the center of people’s lives. And even though iPhone sales to new users will likely have accounted for less than 20% of overall iPhone sales for FY 2020, the device’s installed base remains strong.
Two variables are needed to estimate and track the iPhone installed base:
- The number of people who purchase (and continue to use) a new iPhone from Apple or a third-party retailer.
- The number of people who are using an iPhone obtained via the gray market. These iPhones have either been passed down through families and friends or resold to new users via a web of retailers and distributors.
By combining the two groups, one is able to derive estimates for the total number of iPhones in the wild.
Apple mentioned that the iPhone installed base surpassed 900M devices by the end of FY1Q19. As shown in the graph above, the iPhone installed base has grown each year since launch and has now surpassed a billion people.