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iPhone loyalty reaches all-time high as Android dips, survey says

Privacy might explain why Samsung users are leaving.

Published onMarch 16, 2021

Galaxy S21 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max camera bright
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
iPhone 12 Pro Max (L), Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (R)
  • iPhone loyalty has reached an all-time high of 92%, according to a survey, but Android is dropping.
  • Samsung defectors were particularly concerned about privacy.
  • LG and Motorola phone users were the most eager to change brands.

If you thought the Galaxy S21 and other Android phones would give iPhone owners reason for pause, you were apparently mistaken. SellCell has conducted a survey of 5,000 American phone users in early March indicating that iPhone loyalty (that is, willingness to buy the same brand again) is at an all-time high of 91.9% while Android faithfulness is dropping.

Although Samsung users were the truest of the Android bunch, their loyalty fell from 85.7% in 2019 to ‘just’ 74% this year. It only got worse for other brands. About 65.2% of Google Pixel buyers intended to stick with the lineup, but just 37.4% of LG owners and 29% of Motorola users intended to stick with their existing makes.

Related: Galaxy S21 vs iPhone 12: Battle of the giants

Apple’s privacy push may have played a large role. About 52.9% of people leaving Samsung planned to get an iPhone, and nearly a third of all the brand’s converts (31.5%) cited better privacy as the main reason for their shifting loyalty. People were concerned their devices were tracking them more than they’d like, and they were willing to switch to the brand that promised the most protection against prying eyes.

And no, iPhone loyalty wasn’t largely dictated by Apple’s walled garden. Only 21% cited ecosystem lock-in as a reason for staying put, while just 10% said a switch would be too much hassle. The rest either preferred Apple (45%) or simply had no incentive to change manufacturers. Samsung users weren’t as tied to their platform (5%) , but 18% cited the hassle of leaving from Android to iOS as an explanation.

This is a US-only study, and it was limited to the top five brands in the country. You’d likely see different results in other countries, particularly those where Android tends to dominate. However, it suggests both that the iPhone 12 has been a hit and that Samsung (along with Android as a whole) is losing a public perception battle. It might take a stronger privacy effort, or at least a change in reputation, to keep more Android users onboard.

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