GfK, a German market-research firm, recently surveyed 2,653 smartphone owners in Brazil, Germany, China, Britain, Spain, and the US and found that iPhone owners are by far the most loyal measured against all other mobile device owners.
59% of iPhone owners indicated that they plan on sticking with Apple for future phone purchases. 35% of BlackBerry owners, meanwhile, expressed a desire to stay loyal to RIM. As for Android, which continues to make strides in terms of marketshare, it appears that their user base is a fickle bunch. Only 28% of surveyed Android owners expressed a desire to stay loyal to Google’s mobile OS. And rounding out the list were Nokia and Windows Mobile, whose percentage of user loyalty checked in at 24 and 21% respectively.
A few things to note.
First, the result of this study shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone. Apple owners, on average, tend to be more attached to their products than most. This phenomenon, if you want to call it that, stretches all the way back to the 80’s, and particularly in the 90’s when Apple was bleeding money and the Wintel monopoly reigned supreme. Back then, you had to go out of your way to find a Mac. With Windows commanding an insanely high marketshare at the time, Mac users who decided to go Mac did so for a reason. And given Apple’s paltry marketshare at the time, Mac owners typically honed their pro-Apple speaking points as a direct response to the inordinate amount of poking and jabbing directed their way by the ever so boastful Windows crowd. All that said, Apple users have a long history of being passionate and loyal even when it seemed that Apple was about to go under, and even when Apple products were (and are) priced at a premium.
Second, the survey is most illuminating with respect to Android. Android continues to make strides when it comes to smartphone marketshare and one might therefore assume that Android users are a fiercely loyal crowd. The very reason Android continues to rise in popularity (large variety of handsets with customized UI’s across different carriers), however, may be exactly why users don’t feel a close affinity towards Android. Each Android handset, more or less, has it’s own bit of flavor that makes it unique. While that may work well to get customers in the door and out with a Android handset in tow, that lack of consistency across handsets inevitably makes it challenging for Android to really develop a passionate and loyal following.
And then you have Nokia and Microsoft, who quite honestly, you just have to feel bad for at this point.