Analysts have predicted that the iPhone will once again reign supreme in the smartphone market because of brand loyalty.
After surveying 16,000 consumers in the past 12 months, the Yankee Group predicts that iOS will once again reign supreme in the US by mid 2015 into 2016. They cite “black hole” loyalty as being one of the main reasons for iOS’s potential growth. Even though the report mentions the outstanding success of the Samsung Galaxy S IV launch and its intense press coverage, they based their statistics on ‘intent to buy’ and found that the intent to purchase the S IV was less than half of that of the iPhone 5.
What is interesting to note is that because ‘intent’ was measured over a 12 month period, the analysts noted that even though the data was based mostly on pre-release S IV data, iPhone customers were very loyal towards the Apple brand even when the iPhone 5 hadn’t been released. They had already made up their mind to purchase the iPhone 5 even though it wasn’t released, but Android customers were much less hyped about the S IV, being either indifferent or showing much less intent to purchase the S IV, due to a lack of loyalty.
According to their stats, 91% of iPhone owners plan to purchase another iPhone while 6% plan to defect to Android (the other 3% going to other brands like BlackBerry or Windows). However they say that only 76% plan on going with another Android while 18% plan to switch to iPhone (the other 6% defecting to other smaller brands).
“Think of the Apple and Android ecosystems as two buckets of water. New smartphone buyers — mostly upgrading feature phone owners — fall like rain into the two big buckets about equally, with a smaller number falling into Windows Phone and BlackBerry buckets. However, the Android bucket leaks badly, losing about one in five of all the owners put into it. The Apple bucket leaks only about 7 percent of its contents, so it retains more of the customers that fall into it. The Apple bucket will fill up faster and higher than the Android one, regardless of the fact that the Apple bucket may have had fewer owners in it to begin with.”
Even though Samsung has been shelling out new and powerful phones, they conclude that even if Apple continues to maintain their lifestyle of incremental updates, they still have the backing of a very loyal audience. They note that while Samsung is only now building brand awareness, they still lack the physical stores to compete with Apple’s well establishes network and compete in a market where heavy fragmentation still exists (i.e. timing of OS updates, app compatibility, etc.)
Customers are also concerned about avoiding buyer’s remorse, with what Howe called “the nasty problem” of two-year contracts: “If I buy my $200 iPhone 5 and I don’t like it, switching to an Android phone now costs me $600.” That, Howe said, makes customers especially risk-averse. “If you get beyond the return period, you’re stuck with your mistake for two years.”
You can read the full report here.
What’s your take on the matter? Do you see iPhone making a comeback in terms of marketshare? Or are these delusional statistics?
[Cover Photo: Sean MacEntee/Flickr]