As 2018 comes to a close, we want to take a moment to reflect on what has been. Not really in a nostalgic way, but with some facts and data. Specifically, we thought it would be interesting to see what kind of Zambian iPhone usage stats and trends we could glean from our own customer and job-ticket data.
We might not get every out-of-warranty iPhone service job in Zambia coming our way, but still, if we compare the data for which iPhone models we have handled over the previous year, and even further back, it should be possible to see some trends.
Of course there are some caveats. The out-of-warranty bit is one: we generally only start seeing a particular iPhone model once the one year warranty has expired. Also, older iPhones tend to need service from us more frequently than newer models. There might a few more things to consider too, but for the sake of this analysis let’s toss that lightly aside.
The data all comes from our in-house developed FileMaker based customer and job ticket system. In it we faithfully record each customer and each job, with all the details we need to track each stage of a job (plug: we can develop the same for you – perfectly networked for any SME that handles customers and job tickets…).
We have data going back to October 2016. Back then the iPhone 5 was by far the most popular model we got in for servicing, as we remember it. The data doesn’t quite match that memory, which is probably due to the fact that we had already done iPhone service since the beginning of 2016, and the iPhone 5 dominance memory is probably from earlier in 2016.
The above graph shows the trends quite clearly, but let’s set the stage with some iPhone release dates. The iPhone 5, which was a major redesign and the oldest iPhone model we regularly service, was released in late 2012. (The graph lumps together iPhone 5, 5c and 5s, not because they were released at the same time, but more because we think they represent a single entity in the mindshare of the Zambian iPhone users.)
The fact that the iPhone 5 was still the dominant iPhone in use in Zambia in 2016 is interesting, as much as the iPhone 6, representing yet another major redesign and upgrades in features and capabilities, was introduced in 2014, so it had been on the market two full years before the first entry in the graph above.
Only in Q1 2017 does the iPhone 6 (the graph shows all Plus and non-Plus counterparts lumped together) overtake the 5 as the market leader in Zambia. By then, the iPhone 6s had long since been released (Q4 2015), and it starts showing up as well. But it’s clear it is the 6 that is the iPhone El Chief in Zambia, it keeps on going and it has not really stopped.
We figure the reasons are twofold. The iPhone 6s that followed it had the exact same shape and is not easily distinguishable from an iPhone 6 unless you look closely. So there was no real big draw to upgrade for the sake of vanity. Also, the iPhone 6 is a fantastically solid and reliable machine. Sure, it will need a screen and battery change now and again, which is the majority of iPhone jobs we do anyway, but it keeps on ticking.
The iPhone 5, meanwhile, also keeps on going, but is on a steady decline since Q2 2017. It is simply getting old, more and more break and/or are retired.
The newer models following the iPhone 6 are still struggling to make a huge impact in the market, as can be seen at the tail end of the graph. Meanwhile the iPhone 6 is still going strong.
The above shows the development of relative marketshare for the different iPhone models we had in for service between the 4th quarter of 2017 and the same for 2018. Notice how the iPhone 6 still holds its own, while the iPhone 5 is slowly being replaced by iPhone 6s.
Going into 2019, what can we expect in terms of iPhone model usage in Zambia? The iPhone 6, we think, will finally show a sharper decline in usage. The question is, which model will take up the iPhone 6 slack?
The answer might actually be the iPhone 8. Although not included in the above analysis, we have started to see it coming in for service, and based on initial impression, it seems to be popular. Zambians might just simply have frog-leaped iPhone 7 while still using their 6, but have now landed on the 8 for their next update.
Check back same time next year to find out how our predictions panned out!
A few notes on the data: The vertical axis is simply the number of jobs that we have on that type in our customer system. The first quarter was really the first were we advertised iPhone service, which is why the absolute numbers are low. The numbers relativity should still hold up. Also, we have as can be seen omitted the data for Q2 2018. For reasons that have nothing to do with the business few jobs were recorded as they should have been in that quarter, so the data is simply bad.