Apple's iPhone Retention Rate At 92% This Year

Those famously loyal Apple Inc. AAPL customers became even more devoted in April, with 92 percent of iPhone customers somewhat or extremely likely to upgrade their phone in the next 12 months, Morgan Stanley said Wednesday.

The survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers was up from 86 percent from the same period a year ago, analyst Katy L. Huberty said.

She rated the stock Overweight and set a price target of $177, up from $161. Apple was trading just shy of $151 on Wednesday.

Apple Loyalty Beats Samsung

“It's our belief that a maturing installed base that is accustomed to iOS and increased press around potential new technologies in the upcoming iPhone drove the strong Y/Y increase,” she wrote. “Importantly, the rise in Apple's loyalty rates comes after SSNLF), Apple's biggest competitor in the US, introduced the Galaxy S8, which was available for pre-order starting March 30th.”

Samsung garnered a 77-percent retention rate, followed by LG Display Co Ltd. (ADR) LPL with 59 percent, Motorola Solutions Inc MSI with 56 percent and Nokia Oyj (ADR) NOK with 42 percent.

Less Opportunity To Capitalize On Switching

“With Apple and Samsung controlling an estimated 79 percent of the US smartphone market, the opportunity to win switchers from other brands shrinks,” Huberty wrote. “We see this dynamic playing out in our latest survey data with the switching rate, or percent of non-Apple smartphone owners that would switch from their current brand to an iPhone, decreasing 500 bps Y/Y to 12 percent.”

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