It’s been an Android year – no doubt about that. In September, I covered a report from Industry watcher Nielsen which confirmed Android’s supremacy in the volume game as 43% of American smartphone subscribers opting for Android-based devices and as many as 56% of users who reported buying a new smartphone in the past three months said they got an Android device.
Earlier this month, a report from Gartner echoed similar sentiments suggesting that Android-based devices accounted for a whopping 52.5% of all smartphones sold worldwide in the third quarter of 2011. However, I’ve always wondered if Android users stick to their devices like their iPhone counterparts.
Last December, I covered the GfK survey which suggested that Apple users are the most loyal out of all smartphone owners. A year has passed and if anything – Android is selling more devices than ever. However, this year’s GfK survey reveals that Apple is still the king in terms of brand loyalty – 84 percent of iPhone users will stick with Apple’s smartphone device when the time comes to replace their handsets.
And let’s not forget – Apple supposedly disappointed the world with the iPhone 4S!
GfK reports that 60% of Android device owners said they’d stick to the same operating system. To be honest, I’m somewhat amazed that as many as 48% of BlackBerry users (RIM fanatics or brave souls?) remaining true to the brand. Interestingly, nearly 20% consumers who own both an iPad and iPhone say that switching to another OS would be more difficult than changing bank accounts or gas or electricity providers.
On average, 63% of consumers are sticking to the type of phone they have, lowering the chance for fast changes in the market place. More than 70% survey respondents said they will stick with their current phone brand “due to seamless integration of features and access to content”. 33% say they invested in apps, 29% are concerned about the learning curve to operate a new device and 28% sees transferring personal data across devices as an avoidable hassle.
Though GfK maintains that Apple is clearly ahead of the game, it suggests market development will test Apple’s brand loyalists next year. GfK interviewed around 4,500 people in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, China, the United States and Japan.
The findings are beautifully summed up by GfK analyst Ryan Garner who says
“Those in dominant market positions, who create amazing user experiences, are potentially in the strongest position, and will be the most difficult to challenge in terms of capturing market share.”