A survey from The Yankee Group found three things with iPhone owners, at least one of which may surprise you. iPhone owners are younger than cell phone users in general, —and younger, too, than other smartphone owners — have a markedly higher average household income, and…wait for it…are happier with AT&T than non-iPhone users, and they even like AT&T more than the rest of Ma Bell’s customer base.
Money & good Business
In addition, the survey found that iPhone owners bring more money to AT&T than other smartphone users. Over five years, the survey found that iPhone owners will pay AT&T $5,345, compared with just $5,097 for other smartphone owners.
Combine that with what the firm called a halo effect from the iPhone to the carrier — 73% of iPhone owners gave AT&T an 8, 9, or 10 on in satisfaction, compared with 69% of either Mobile or smartphone users — and The Yankee Group concluded that iPhone owners make for good customers in the U.S.
“Since its introduction in 2007,” the firm wrote in its report, “the iPhone has redefined the U.S. smartphone market. During that time, AT&T has wielded an exclusive contract with Apple that has locked most U.S. iPhone buyers to its network, while multiple operators outside the U.S. have negotiated with Apple to offer its iconic device to their customers. The outstanding question associated with those negotiations is why, especially when five other manufacturers now offer smartphones of similar functionality. Are iPhone subscribers really worth all this trouble? Our surveys of U.S. consumers suggest they are.”
The report added more succinctly, “For mobile operators, courting Apple owners isn’t like building a cult; it’s just good business.”
The survey found that iPhone owners average 32 years of age, which compares to 34 years of age for other smartphone owners and 40 years for mobile phones as a whole. Younger demographics tend to be looked on more favorably (by marketers, at least) in part because they tend to be more willing to part with their money than their older counterparts.
Added to this is the significant disparity in average household income the survey found. iPhone owners average $100,000 in household income, while smartphone owners as a whole average $85,000. The average mobile phone customer has an average household income of $70.000.
In addition, iPhone owners spend much more time on the Internet with their devices — 37 minutes, compared to 32 minutes for other smartphones and 19 minutes for cell phone users — and they download more than twice as many mobile apps than other smartphone users. Not surprisingly, the survey also found that iPhone owners conduct more transactions on their devices than other other users.
It’s a One-Way Trip
Another important aspect of doing business with iPhone owners, especially when Apple controls who can do business with iPhone owners, is the fact that once you go iPhone, you seldom go back. The survey found unprecedented loyalty to Apple and the iPhone among iPhone customers, and the firm characterized the path to the device as a “one-way trip.”
The chart below shows that more iPhone owners than other smartphone users or cell phone users plan on buying another smartphone with a data plan. More importantly, in each of those categories, Apple’s iPhone is the hands-down favorite choice for which device to buy when they do get that next smartphone.
“A third of smartphone owners of all types who intend to buy a smartphone intend to buy an iPhone,” The Yankee Group wrote. “In fact, Apple is the most popular choice for a future smartphone among all mobile phone owners.”
By way of example, the survey found that, “RIM BlackBerry owners see a touch-screen device as the antithesis of their hard keyboards. However, even in this category, 23 percent of respondents plan to buy an Apple iPhone. We see similar results with all other mobile phone owners. In fact, over a third of Google-branded Android phone owners say they plan to buy an iPhone.”
The Yankee Group offered several recommendations in its report. The firm suggested that Apple look beyond the carriers, and that carriers stop looking for an “iPhone killer.” Android devices, the company said, appeal more to Windows Mobile users, Sidekick users, and LG handset users than to iPhone customers.
And to any carrier thinking about carrying the iPhone, the company suggested that they plan for iPhone traffic, saying, “Any operator who gets the iPhone should have a cell upgrade plan in place to handle the increased demand from iPhone customers. It’s not a question of if that demand will materialize, only when. And don’t forget that iPhones put more load on the signaling channels than on the bearer channels, so plan your capacity accordingly.”