Android rivalry: in the UK, 38 percent of Xperia Z users left Samsung

July 1, 2013
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According to UK market research by Kantar, Sony has been stealing users away from Samsung, with an estimated 38 percent of Xperia Z buyers owning a Samsung device before.

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That competition between companies is good for customers is a truism. Everyone agrees that the world of Android needs more competition, and that Samsung’s dominance, though largely responsible for making Android what it is today, needs to be challenged.

In the UK, the surprising challenger to give Samsung pause could be Sony. Once on the brink of irrelevance, the storied Japanese electronics giant embarked in a grand turnaround plan under the leadership of CEO Kaz Hirai. The results are visible in the form of new and exciting products, from the Xperia Z, continuing with the sleek Tablet Z and Xperia Z Ultra, and the soon to be announced i1 (a.k.a. Honami).

Sony has been working hard on putting out superbly designed, well made devices, and its struggle appears to be paying off. Last week, IDC revealed that Sony occupied a surprising third place in Europe, behind Samsung and Apple. Now, another prestigious research firm confirms that Sony is making a comeback, partially on Samsung’s expense.

Sony is currently the fourth largest handset maker in the UK

According to Kantar’s findings, Sony is currently the fourth largest handset maker in the UK, although the firm didn’t reveal if the stats include feature phones, or who the top three handset makers are. We can assume however, that the two top players are Samsung and Apple. The research covers the March 2013 to May 2013 period.

Sony managed to steal quite a few customers from Samsung. According to Kantar, an impressive 38 percent of new Xperia Z users previously owned a Samsung phone. A majority of these new Sony customers owned a Galaxy S2 handset, suggesting that Samsung had difficulties retaining customers whose contracts expired this year.

Kantar’s analysts think that Samsung needs to stop obsessing over fighting Apple and realize that the real threat may be coming from another direction.

Samsung now finds itself in a position where, after two years of relentless growth, it must focus on keeping its existing base of customers loyal if it is to maintain its success. As it stands, Samsung has the second highest loyalty rate in Britain (59%), but this falls well short of Apple (79%). With the competition dramatically upping their game in terms of build quality and content innovation, Samsung will have to work hard to convince its 8.8 million customers to stick with the brand.
Dominic Sunnebo
Kantar Worldpanel ComTech

It remains to be seen if Sony’s recent performance is a fluke or the beginning of something bigger. Samsung may seem to hold an inexpugnable position now, but it wouldn’t be the first tech company to lose the crown to a hungry challenger.

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