Kantar: Demand for iPhone 5c in U.S. coming from lower-income households

Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) lower-priced iPhone 5c was more expensive than many analysts had anticipated, but demand for the gadget, at least in the U.S. market, is coming strongly from lower-income consumers, according to a new report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

iphone 5c

iPhone 5c

According to Kantar analyst Dominic Sunnebo, the 5c is appealing to a broader audience than Apple usually attracts, and 42 percent of iPhone 5c owners earn less than $49,000 compared with just 21 percent for iPhone 5s. The research firm also found that iPhone 5c customers also tend to be slightly older, at an average of 38, compared to 34 for 5s owners.

Apple is selling the 16 GB iPhone 5c for $99 and the 32 GB version for $199 when coupled with a two-year contract. On a no-contract basis, however, the phone costs $549 for the 16 GB model and $649 for the 32 GB model.

"The good news for Apple is that this wider appeal is attracting significant switching from competitors," Sunnebo said in a statement. "Almost half of iPhone 5c owners switched from competitor brands, particularly Samsung and LG, compared with 80 percent of 5s owners who upgraded from a previous iPhone model."

Much of the focus of Kantar's latest report is on Apple's iOS market share in leading markets around the world in the wake of the late September launch of the iPhone 5s and 5c. However, the fact that the 5c appears to be gaining traction with lower-income customers in the U.S. despite its price could undercut analysts' comments that the device was priced too high. Apple CEO Tim Cook has described the 5c as a mid-range device and has said the company never set out to make a low-end phone.

Overall, in the U.S. in the three months to October, Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android led the way with 52.6 percent share, while iOS had 40.8 percent and Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone had 4.8 percent. In the month of October itself, according to Kantar, Apple's share reached 52.8 percent.

"In almost all markets, the iPhone 5s and 5c releases have given iOS a significant bounce compared to the previous month," Sunnebo said. "Generally, Apple's share of the market still remains lower than when the iPhone 5 was released, although this is not wholly unexpected as shoppers tend to react more positively to 'full' releases than incremental improvements such as the 5s and 5c."

For more:
- see this Kantar post
- see this TechCrunch article
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this ZDNet article

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