Android, iOS, Samsung, and the facts about brand loyalty

by: Nate SwannerAugust 1, 2013

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The Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) recently conducted a study to see which mobile OS people had migrated to, or whether they stuck with their current Os and/or device manufacturer. The idea behind the study was to see which mobile operating systems and which manufacturers people preferred, while appreciating their former device OEM and OS. As it turns out, iOS is a clear winner for loyalty across the board, but that figure can be a bit skewed.

BRand loyalty: previous operating system

This CIRP chart shows the current OS for customers on the left, and which OS they may have moved from.

Operating systems and retention

We can learn from the chart above that of those users currently on Android, 67% stuck around from last year. A tight 14% of iOS users migrated, and 34% of Blackberry users made the switch. In the iOS corner, 27% of former Android users switched, while 48% of Blackberry users went with Apple. A respectable 39% of feature phone users went all in with iOS, too. From this we can also glean that iOS users are more likely to stay with their iPhones and iPads, with 78% sticking around this year over last.

Of those feature phone users, 50% moved toward Android. This can almost certainly be due to Android being made available on lower cost devices, and capturing a wider audience. This can also be attributed to emerging markets, where lower cost devices are popular and often necessary. Apple’s insistence on one device hurts them in this realm, though they are said to be working on a lower end iPhone in response to demand, as these numbers illustrate.

Brand loyalty: current and previous OEM

Much like the above chart, this shows the current brand of device consumers are using on the left, and their previous throught the chart.

Does brand loyalty exist?

Much like the OS customer base, OEMs have the same, if not worse, turnover. We may use a Samsung one year, but that new LG or Motorola catches our eye the next. We can also make some deductions regarding the operating system switchovers from this chart, especially in regard to Nokia.

Apple has their singular OS, tied to one phone. It clearly works well, and their retention numbers prove so.

Apple again has the highest customer loyalty, but that’s evidence of one device tied to a singular operating system. If you notice, OS loyalty and device loyalty are exactly the same for Apple users at 78%. What is notable is that iOS picks up the bulk of former Blackberry users with 48%, a decisive 17% over Samsung’s 31%, and nearly quadruple those who went with HTC or stayed loyal to Blackberry.

Of course, Samsung has their loyal fanbase as well, with over half of users from the previous year still using a Samsung device. Migration patterns from other OEMs was fairly steady, hovering around 30% for all non-Apple users. Of those Apple fans who are no longer tucked under the iOS wing, 11% went with Samsung, which was over double the other manufacturer’s Apple migration numbers.

The Nokia issue

As they’re married to Windows Phone, Nokia is seeing some troubling retention numbers, according to this chart. If these numbers are accurate, just about every single customer Nokia had went with another device manufacturer, which also means another operating system. Apple and Samsung shared the Nokia migration lead with 30% each, while HTC had a respectable 20% of Nokia fans flock to them. LG made a showing with 15%, and Motorola rounded it out with 5%. If you’re keeping score, that’s 100% of Nokia fans who have moved on. Interestingly enough, none went with Blackberry.

Android and iOS

The old ‘Android vs. iOS’ chestnut

It just can’t be cracked, because the comparison is a bit unfair. Android is open, and thus available for interpretation. Each of those Android manufacturers has their own take, and tries to create loyalty with their iteration or skin. Samsung goes so far as to create an ecosystem, which is clearly helping them with customer retention.

Apple has their singular OS, tied to one phone. It clearly works well, and their retention numbers prove so. When almost 80% of your customers stay home, it means you’re doing something right. When your market share is about half of your largest competitor, the ground you have to hold onto is precious.

Even though there is some movement around the Android ecosystem, and more Android users went with iOS than the other way around, the long term growth potential is solid. Emerging markets, lower cost devices, and an open source system all contribute to the overall success of Android, both now and in the future.

  • Thomas Sauvaget

    I am not sure if it is really brand loyality. But more like being locked in within a system. I must admit I haven’t had a proper look into the IOS services, but I think that a lot of people are “loyal” because they don’t want to lose all the money they have spent on apps, book, etc.
    Sure Google does the same. But in my opinion it is easier to migrate. Gmail works on both systems, other services like Google Music have apps on both plattforms etc. Not everything of course. But given that more apps/services used on android are cheaper or free it is much easier too switch.

    • Daniel DS

      Google Music in IOS? Since when?

      • carlisimo
      • zgryfx

        Search for GoMusic in the App Store. I use it on my iPad. Cheers!

        • Apple_Nexus

          It’s not a Google app though. Do you want to trust your Google log in details with a third party? You can save the Google Music page as a web app though.

          • zgryfx

            I’m just facilitating his request for information. Let him decide for himself whether he wants to use a third party app or not. The information is out there. It would be morally presumptuous to decide for him. ;)

      • kascollet

        I use the service on a daily basis with my iphone, since I got it in january. EVERY Google service works, and quite greatly to be honest. I don’t miss my GS2 in this regard.

      • Thomas Sauvaget

        If I am not mistaken, Google announced it this year on their Google I/O

    • TinoXIII

      I never owned an iPhone myself but I did own lots of other Apple software and hardware. I bought a lot of music from iTunes and paid to have that music converted to DRM free versions. Most of my contacts and calendar were already synchronized to Google services so using Android was not a big deal for me. I wouldn’t want to buy my apps over but you have to think about it this way; a majority of apps you will download are free and available across platforms. The paid Android apps I have are mostly utilities and launchers that iOS have no similar functionality. I don’t play many games on my phone so that isn’t a problem for me.

    • kascollet

      It’s no only about money.
      iCloud services are often underrated or simply unknown outside of iOS users but they are truly interesting, easy to setup and yet powerful.
      Some of them have no real counterpart on Android and all of them work flawlessly across iOS devices (Photo Stream, iCloud Backup, iCloud Documents, iCloud tabs, iTunes songs, .)
      All iCloud features come for free, built into the device, with no ad, it’s not about money.

      • abazigal

        I would argue that Apple’s services are technically already factored into the high selling prices of their devices. However, I find that they have quite a lot of limitations.

        For example, icloud backup is kinda pointless with the paltry 5gb Apple gives you, and the subscriptions aren’t cheap. Photostream works only over wifi, which is annoying when you are outdoors (but shared photostream is cool). Cloud documents is baffling – it seems to redownload the newer version of the document to all your devices, which makes it very slow (when it should work like google docs).

        The only nice thing is that they are easy to set up and often work quietly in the background without you needing to do anything (or even realising they are there).

        • TheBasicMind

          That you consider the 5Gb paltry shows a degree of misunderstanding of how seamless and integrated the iOS experience is. I made the same mistake when I purchased additional space I now realise I don’t need. One Apple ID login will see all your apps, music movies (the OS as well if needed) etc restored before any data that counts towards your backup is even touched.

          I presumed because I have lots of music and films I would need lots of backup space, but I use iTunes match and, the backup quota is only used for data in the (invisible to the user) user data folder for each app. I’m a heavy user and this has still to exceed 3.2 gig.

  • rjr162

    Just curious, I don’t see a sample size or anything listed, the and link to CIRP just goes to their home page, not the survey results/information or anything else…

  • MasterMuffin

    You can’t compare iOs and Android in many areas and this is one of those. The “fair” comparison would (and pretty much always would) be between Nexus and iOs devices

    • Nikola Čejović

      Why? If I want iOS i can only get the Apple’s iPhone. And if I wan’t android I can get any number of brands. It’s the operating system they are comparing, not the hardware.

      • MasterMuffin

        But iOs is same always, Android is different. There are good skins and bad skins and there are good phones and horribly terrible phones. The brand loyalty comparison isn’t fair in any level

        • Nikola Čejović

          If apple made iOS skinnable then the comparison would be better? That’s a problem with the OS, that’s why they are comparing OS’ and not hardware.

          • MasterMuffin

            No… For example my friend who had a sub $200 Android phone (Galaxy Ace) didn’t like Android and changed after it to iOs. With iDevices you always get the premium experience, with Android there are phones that are almost made to drive people away from Android. You seriously can’t get this?(??)

          • Nikola Čejović

            Yeah, but your friend paid 30% of the price you paid for the iphone. If he paid the same price he would have gotten a good experience on android. I understand what you are saying I just don’t agree with it. They are not comparing which OS is better, they are comparing if they are switching the OS. Whether you like it or not, both a 30$ and a 999$ phone are using android. And if they switch from either of them to the iPhone, it would be reflected in the table. Because they switched from android to iOS. Nexuses aren’t the only android phones, they aren’t even the best of them.

          • MasterMuffin

            But it’s still not “fair”

          • Nikola Čejović

            Why? If apple wanted they could licence the iOS to others like Microsoft are doing. But they don’t want that. That is the main advantage of android. Many manufacturers are selling phones with it on board.

          • MasterMuffin

            That’s the advantage of Android, but it doesn’t make these comparisons fair, because Android will always loose in these because of the crappy phones. It’s common sense

          • Nikola Čejović

            That’s why they have another table with brands. There they are separate.

          • MasterMuffin

            But still all of these manufacturers (except for Apple, yet) make cheap phones too. There should also tables with price category loyalty stuff thingys :)

          • abazigal

            Why would Apple do that?

            The last time they tried a similar thing with OSX, they experienced rapid market share growth but also massive declining profits, because their competitors undercut them with cheaper computers running the same software.

            Microsoft can do this because their profits come from software licenses, not sales of hardware. Their foray into hardware hasn’t been very successful so far, so it seems they still have a lot of room for improvement in that aspect. In short, I don’t see Microsoft giving up their core business any time soon.

            Google can afford to give away Android for free because Android serves as the gateway to get people to use their services, and they expect to eventually earn it all back in the long run from the increased ad revenue.

            As it is, Apple currently rakes in more profits from their sales of iphones alone than Microsoft does in its entirety. In fact, Apple is garnering a large share of the smartphone’s profits overall. Why would they go down a route that would actually earn them less money, all to prop up a meaningless statistic like market share?

        • nameofthewind

          you two could discuss this all day long but there is nothing “FAIR” in this kind of comparison, no matter how you guys go in circles there is no way you will find a “FAIR” sign-post so stop it :) you’ll just tire yourselves