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Post-holiday, the iPhone installed base appears to have grown by 2 percent

Apple's growth rate of the install base of active iPhones is flattening a bit in the US, analysis from CIRP claims, with the number of iPhones in use estimated to have grown 2% between the start of January and the end of March.

The iPhone is thought to no longer be undergoing the stellar growth of previous years by analysts, predicting issues such as a maturing smartphone market and a saturation of potential customers. Estimates based on Apple's financial results, in part due to Apple no longer reporting unit sales of major product categories, put Apple as shipping around 30 percent fewer iPhone units year-on-year.

The reduced shipments also mean that there is a smaller increase in the number of iPhone units in use in the United States. Analysis from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners provided to AppleInsider suggests there is a US install base of 193 million units at the end of March 2019, up just 4 million from 189 million units at the end of December, and 20 million units more than the same time last year.

CIRP based its estimates on the US base increase from estimated global sales of 39 million iPhones, in turn derived from an estimated average selling price of $803 and revenues disclosed by Apple.



The 2% sequential quarterly growth and 12% year-on-year growth is down from what was seen one year prior, estimated at 4% and 19% respectively.

"The US installed base of iPhones continues to plateau," said CIRP partner and co-founder Josh Lowitz. "Relative to the most recent quarters, and especially to the past two or three years, slowing unit sales and longer ownership periods means that the growth in the number of US iPhones has flattened considerably."

While the 12% year-on-year growth is good, Lowitz reasons "investors grew accustomed to quarterly growth of 5% or more, and annual growth of almost 20%," suggesting this may prompt investors to ask themselves if Apple's external sales will compensate.

Though it is a good indicator for hardware revenue, it is arguable the install base is more important when considering Apple's greater focus on its Services arm, as the larger the install base, the larger the potential customer base for new services like Apple Arcade, Apple News+, and Apple TV+.

Despite the plateau, CIRP's research from April claims the iPhone is still doing well with carriers. It was reported Apple had the highest share of all smartphone brands in terms of US mobile activations for the first quarter of 2019, beating Samsung 36% to 34%.