The hype machine that is Apple creates quite the buzz when their keynotes happen, particularly the iPhone launches.

This new study helps to visualize the force behind the machine and compares this data to one of the iPhones biggest smartphone rivals, the Samsung Galaxy S range.

Since the launch of the original iPhone, the annual iPhone launch has been quite the media spectacle, evolving into one of the most consistently influential consumer-focused keynote events of its time.

While this yearly happenings influence may seem obvious to most through the increase in media coverage, social network news, and general online chatter. iPhone trade-in site BankMyCell has conducted a study to reveal the viral impact of such events using online purchase and resale query trends.

About the study

The methodology around the study was fairly simple, BankMyCell aggregated search queries with the most monthly activity that were associated with buyer and trade-ins. Using this global data, the site pulled historic global trend and regional reports from Google Trends (a fairly reliable impartial source) and built their own data visualizations.

The data from 2007-2018 compared the increases in queries on the announcements and launches of devices. The site then went on to map the percentage increase from these figures to data from 3 months prior (a normal trading period).

As you can probably guess, no other smartphone manufacturer came close.

Hype Comparisons: Samsung Galaxy Releases VS iPhone Releases

BankMyCell reports that according to their Google Trend data, iPhone announcements and launches have Apple fans twice as aroused as any of the Samsung Galaxy S range releases. The chart illustrates each significant product launch from the smartphone manufacturers overlaid against each other. It’s noticeable that both have a very positive increase in consumer interest leading up to 2014-15 when a decline in search interest continues after.

It’s worth mentioning that this data does not specifically mean sales will be down, this is measuring consumer interest queries for buying these devices:

We can see from BankMyCell’s data the leaders of the pack in terms of heightening global queries at the time of launch were the iPhone 6/6 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini.

While the Samsung Galaxy range is the more premium flagship the manufacturer’s devices, the company is number one in global smartphone sales due to their focus on emerging markets and suitably priced devices for them. This study is focused on global data but using English queries only and Apple is now the third largest manufacturer since Huawei recently jumped into second place this year.

Buyer Interest: How the iPhone Events Influence Trends

According to the data study, iPhone announcement events lead to colossal surges in buyer interest. The iPhone 3G and iPhone 5 caused notable increases due to the adoption of new 3G and 4G network connectivity. 

Announcements of the iPhone 4, 5, and 6/6 Plus influenced consumer buyer interest by 217 percent, 172 percent and 203 percent making them some of the most significant launches to date in terms of consumer buzz. 

The iPhone SE however, actually had negative interest data on its announcement and launch, being a budget option with not much new in terms of functionality enhancements.

So why do Apple’s products have such influence? It makes sense that a product launch would spark interest but the iPhone manufacturer continues to outclass their competitors in this arena. This is more than likely down to the press circus that happens around Apple events, the coverage is huge due to the mystery behind what is being launched, the leaks and the aspirational appeal created around social groups.

iPhone buyer intent 2007-2018 – increase by percentage

BankMyCell provided another view of this data in the form of percentage increases calculated by the month of release against the 3 months before the hype train came on the radar.

Notable increases:

  • iPhone 3G: +230%
  • iPhone 4: +217.65%
  • iPhone 6/6 Plus: +203.03%
  • iPhone 5: +172.22%

Impact on Global iPhone Sales

What was interesting from the data is that the decline or decay of interest over time does not directly match the global sales figures. This may be a sign that Apple’s plan of integrating all your devices together in a closed ecosystem has worked well. Most devices like iPhones, MacBook’s, TV, iCloud and more all communicate and work well together but for you to break away from this structure migrate your data is difficult.

The iPhone 6S had a very low-interest spike, however, the sales from Q1-Q3 2015 fueled from the iPhone 6 release in 2014 resulted in the company having the biggest year in terms of iPhone sales (231.22M)

The visible impact of the decline starts to show in 2016 onwards with the sales being 15-20M down from 2015

Trade-in Interest: How the iPhone Events Influence Trends

From the buyer interest data, we can visualize the obvious, that Apple fans will flood to get the new devices when they are announced and launched. This resorts in consumers looking to value and sell their old devices in order to make the latest model cheaper. 

This chart shows the interest over time for consumers looking to cash in on their old devices when they’re upgrading or simply selling old cell phones collecting dust about the home.

The trend shown in the sites report shows similar patterns to the iPhone buyer queries, although there is a larger decline in trade-in queries from 2014 following the iPhone 6/6 Plus release. Alternatively, the peak years for trade-in interest were between the iPhone 5 (2012) and the iPhone 6 (2014). From looking at the data it’s also worth mentioning that the iPhone 8/8 Plus and X announcement was in September 2018, but the devices were released between September and November. If these were bundled together in one release the spike in 2017 would be considerably larger.

In their email to us, BankMyCell also advised that iPhone trade-in values depreciate very slowly throughout the year making them one of the best cell phone investments. Until the keynote that is, prices of the 1-year-old devices like the iPhone X can drop by up to 20% within 14 days from the announcement. 

The company said you can check your iPhones trade-in pricing on their website and lock the quote in for 30 days giving you until mid-October to send your device, we do recommend looking around first for other options to get a broad picture.

Examples of other iPhone resale options:

  • In-store trade-ins – Most carriers, large retailers and Kiosks
  • Facebook marketplace – Sell to someone close or a friend
  • Craigslist  – Another classified ad option
  • eBay – List it for auction (check listing fees to make sure you’re getting a good deal)

iPhone trade-in intent 2007-2018 – increase by percentage

BankMyCell provided another view of this data in the form of percentage increases calculated by the month of release against the 3 months before the hype train came on the radar.

Notable increases:

  • iPhone 3G: +366.67%
  • iPhone 6/6 Plus: +354.55%
  • iPhone 4: +312.5%
  • iPhone 4S: +261.54%

The irrefutable truth is Apple will shift huge volumes with these new iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR releases. It will be interesting to see how the data BankMyCell provided us looks after Christmas when the final quarter is over. What impact do you think these new releases will have? Let us know in the comments section below. 

Study source: BankMyCell