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

August 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.

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