iPhone Owners More Loyal Than Android Users

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iPhone owners are more than twice as loyal to their smartphone OS than owners of Android-powered devices, according to a survey from German market research firm GfK. Granted early access to the survey results to be released later today, Reuters reported that GfK found that 59% of iPhone owners planned to stay loyal to iOS, whereas only 28% of Android device owners could say the same.

Interestingly, it was BlackBerry that came in #2 in OS loyalty, with 35% of those users saying they panned on buying another BlackBerry device, a percentage just over half (59.3%) the OS loyalty Apple commands, and 46% higher than Android users. It would appear there is still some juice in the phrase CrackBerry.

21% of Microsoft Windowsmobilewhatever owners planned to stay loyal to that OS, though we should note that it is likely that most of the Windowsmobilewhatever users that participated in the survey were users of the previous version of that platform, and not the new, recently launched Windows Phone 7 version.

In any event, 24% of Nokia’s Symbian platform planned on sticking with that platform. All OSes combined averaged out to have 25% consumer loyalty, making Apple’s customers the standout by a wide margin.

The survey was conducted among 2,653 mobile phone users in Brazil, Germany, Spain, the UK, the U.S., and China. In addition to the above-mentioned smartphone-specific statistics, the survey also found that 37% of cell phone users planned on upgrading to a smartphone for their next purchase.

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Bryan Chaffin

Maybe the Android users didn’t realize that some of them could access Flash?




Interesting statistics but I’m not entirely sure how to interpret them. I am a switcher from iPhone to Android because my current phone best suited my needs when it was time to upgrade, just as the iPhone was the best option for me when I got it. Rather than being a reflection on the relative merits of the OS’s the statistics probably simply show a difference in the attitudes of the users, in that more iPhone users will stay with an iPhone regardless whereas more Android users will check the market for what suits them best.

Although welcome statistics for Apple as a company I am not sure it’s good for consumers to be “loyal” at all. It is implied from the phrasing “only 28% of Android device users could say the same” that this is a bad thing. I would disagree.  If Apple is the best choice for someone then all well and good, the same with Blackberry, Android or even Windows. However “loyalty” in the context used here seems to be suggesting that people are making their decision in advance of knowing what is going to be available and as such not on what will necessarily be best for them at the time. In this sense I do not see a high percentage for any company as a good thing at all, except for the companies themselves.

Also, of course, the lower number for the other brands do not indicate that the remaining percentage are going to switch away, merely that those users do not have an actual planned OS - a healthy situation I think. But obviously again from the user point of view, not the company.

So after going from iPhone to Android I admit I am not planning on staying with Android. I am not planning on going back to iPhone. Nor am I planning a Blackberry, Symbian or Windows device. I am planning to get the best phone for me, my needs and my budget when the time comes. Which could be any one of them. I would personally have loved if the percentages for ALL the companies were in single digits, indicating that the only people with a definite plan were the ones that were on the verge of buying.


Maybe the Android users didn?t realize that some of them could access Flash?

or those who did try accessing Flash got so frustrated with too much App sluggishness and/or quick-dying battery charges, that they started thinking they needed to find a “better” droid?

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

or those who didn’t know what they were talking about from real experience got all their information from Steve Jobs and Jon Gruber and didn’t bother ever trying to inform themselves?


Distantstorm:  Your arguments are a carbon copy of the arguments advanced by Eric Schmidt and Steve Ballmer, that users should be open to experiment and pick the best smartphone for each of them.  The problem for Messrs. Ballmer and Schmidt is that too many of their users, at least by a margin of two to one, have decided that the best smarphone for them is the iPhone, and they have decided that and forclosed the option of experiment because the iPhone delights them, so they don’t wish to experiment with another smartphone.

Now, Messrs. Schmidt and Ballmer only have themselves to blame for consumers not feeling the same way about Windows and/or Android smartphones, that is, not having been delighted by their experience with those phones.  Microsoft was the incumbent; it had it all to lose.  And lose it did, as its customers discovered that they detested Windows phones once they could compare them to an iPhone.  The same is pretty much true for Android, which has attained the status of the smartphone with the biggest market share.  Yet, customers aren’t as delighted with their Android phones, for Apple’s iPhone customer are loyal to iPhone by 59% compared to only 28% for Android, that is, the new incumbent, Android, has failed to so delight its newly won customers that they don’t wish to see if there is a better phone for them.  Quite to the contrary, Android only leads the Windows Phone by 7%, which means that Android has disappointed far more of its customers than Apple’s iPhone.

And no specious sophistry about it being good that Android users and other users are in a good place, because they are willing to experiment, will get around the fact that it was and is Android and Windows Phone’s job to delight their respective customers so that they don’t wish to be open to another smartphone’s experience, and both of them have failed and are failing in the job of delighting their respective customers.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Nemo, I hope you are delighted when just 10% of smart phone users have iPhones. That’s where it’s trending while Android trends toward domination.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

It just dawned on me that even if these stats are correct, it will soon be easier to find a loyal Android user than a loyal iPhone user because there will be more of them. Do the math…


Doing the math, if Apple just picks up a quarter of those disaffected Android users, Apple will catch and pass Android.  And, if the scuttlebutt is right about the iPhone coming to Verizon, with the many smart observers predicting that Apple will get as much as a third of Verizon’s Android users, Katie bar the door, because the iPhone is coming. 

Eric Schmidt:  Momma, who was that man?  It was Steve Jobs and his iPhone.

And remember that with its 17% share, Apple has more share than any individual Android phone and is capturing more of the smartphone industry’s profits that any other smartphone OEM and more profits, I think, than all the Android OEMs combined.  Momma who was that man?

Anil Jagtap

I do not think iPhone users are loyal by choice. They are choice less. So it looks like they are loyals.


or those who did try accessing Flash got so frustrated with too much App sluggishness and/or quick-dying battery charges, that they started thinking they needed to find a ?better? droid?

Said like a true apple fanboy that would buy Apple’s iDirt if they came out with it.

On a different note, it also depends on how many people they asked are people of a certain demographic, where they are located, etc. Same goes for any statistic. If you ask 10 people that are suicidal if they think there should be life, then your likely to use the statistic that everyone wants death to all.

Oh, how I hate statistics on opinions just for that reason. It’s such a subjective way to look at things. I also bet when they were looking for candidates, they were asking specifically toward “iPhone, or other smart phone users”, rather then just “smart phone users” and may have asked it in an apple store or a place that sells a larger amount of apple products then other products.

Statistics like this are just someone trying to make themselves feel better about something they like.


“Domination” is just a word, as irrelevant to Apple as “market share.” Fandroids, of course, understand that about as well as the OEMs trying to make a profit selling iClones.


Dear Santa.  All I want for Christmas this year is for the bitter Android lovers to go play with other Android lovers wherever they may dwell and to stop bothering us with their garbage responses.  Why Android lovers choose to follow MacObserver is beyond me…  Desperation I suppose.


Oh no!!  More Android users than iPhone?!?!?  More cheap people buying cheap phones running a free OS.  How can that possibly happen?  Oh my GOD, whatever will Apple do?!?!?  Wow, what a position to hang one’s hat on.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is for RonMacGy to understand the difference between a “Mac” (as in “The Mac Observer”) and “iPhone” (as in this is not “The iPhone Observer”). Maybe a set of custom iPad sized flash cards in a very large font might get the point across.


Oh, how I hate statistics on opinions just for that reason. It?s such a subjective way to look at things. I also bet when they were looking for candidates, they were asking specifically toward ?iPhone, or other smart phone users?, rather then just ?smart phone users? and may have asked it in an apple store or a place that sells a larger amount of apple products then other products

I generally do not like to respond to other readers’ postings, apart from using these to add to a discussion thread, and I particularly avoid responding to obviously angry, insulting and snarky comments, as these are generally intellectually content-poor flamebait arising from ill intent en route to nowhere. Moreover, I do have a day job, which I really should be doing now. Nonetheless, every now and then someone posts something so utterly out of touch that, to quote a famous physicist’s comment about someone’s half-baked theory, “It’s not even ‘wrong’”. No worse insult could be levied against a thinking person.

Ceding ‘cm’ the benefit of being a thinking person, the same could be said for cm’s comments about survey methodology and GfK, an internationally reputed company, staffed by professionals and academics with backgrounds in analytical statistical methodology, and backed by managerial and supervisory boards, not to mention investors. A look at their client base immediately gives the lie to such a company being able to get away with the kind of charlatanism ‘cm’ suggests.

Subject matter and survey results aside, for a disinterested body like GfK to conduct a survey, its methods are internally and generally externally reviewed, and if not, open to review by any party who will purchase its products. Those third party consumers live and die by intel (statistics in this case), and are going to check the methodology before acting on those findings. Anyone can conduct bad surveys (and generally bad science), but they are not going to build the international reputation and client base that GfK has by doing so. What cm describes, however, is not even a ‘bad’ survey, but simply a fabrication designed to support an a priori opinion.

One has to pause here and ask oneself, ‘What would it benefit this group to do so, particularly, to support not even Apple, but a specific Apple product?’. If, in the absence of an elaborate and far-fetched conspiracy theory, the answer appears to be ‘nothing’, then Occam’s Razor would indicate that this is probably the correct answer. Nothing.

All surveys have their limitations, and their quantifiable uncertainty around which they build their confidence limits. Moreover, a well designed survey can answer a specific set of questions, and generally cannot be used to extrapolate answers to questions for which it was not designed. But to equate these limitations with a self-serving fabrication is about as intelligent as equating a theory with an uninformed and uneducated opinion. It is so far off base that ‘It’s not even “wrong”’.


I really wasn’t going to return to this topic because I thought I had said all I wanted to, and done so in a way that wasn’t particulary partisan however I feel the need to respond to a couple of things.

@RonMacGuy I have previously owned an iPhone, I now own an Android and I fall into the statistic of those with no definite plans about my future device. This is what this article is all about. Surely, whether you are in agreement or not with my opinion you cannot argue I shouldn’t be reading it or commenting? In addition, I own a Mac Mini, A MacBook Pro and an iMac. Why, in your opinion, am I therefore ruled out of reading MacObserver?


I am delighted you are delighted with your phone. My comments did not suggest anybody should buy one device or another, merely that they should buy what was was best for them. You state that “Eric Schmidt and Steve Ballmer (think) that users should be open to experiment and pick the best smartphone for each of them.” I see nothing that needs defending here and it seems to me like an incredibly legitimate point of view. You state it as if it is a negative, I see nothing negative about that perspective so will need to agree to disagree there.
I then admit I got rather confused as to who was supposed to be delighting who but if I follow correctly you are interpreting the statistics to mean that those Android users that are not in the 28% are therefore not delighted with their choice. In fact you then stretch this in a later post to say they are disaffected. I personally absolutely love my phone, more so than I did my iPhone. But I still have no actual plan to definitely buy an Android phone next. Does that mean I am disaffected? No, of course not, it simply means that when the time comes for my new phone I will see what suits me best at the time. I may go back to an iPhone, I may stick with Android or I may go “Other”. To call those users that have not made up their minds “disaffected”, and “disappointed” is pure fiction. The statistics would have to show the “churn” of a particular OS to establish what you are trying to. These stats merely show who has already made their decision to stay with an OS, not how many will actually end up staying.
Finally, I will repeat my original point that I still think it is best for consumers to choose their device at the time, based on what suits them and their circumstance. Anyone disagreeing with that is, in my mind, slightly peculiar. That best device for that person may well be an iPhone, or it could be an Android. It could even be Symbian. But it should be an informed choice at the time, not an automatic default.  I therefore think that the healthiest situation from a consumer point of view would be for all the percentages, across all the OS’s to be lower.

Just because I am delighted with my current car, my current washing powder, my current toothpaste or even because I love a certain dish at a restaurant does not mean I cannot weigh up the alternatives the next time I am at the dealership, the supermarket or out for a meal. And it does not mean that the producer of that product has not delighted me enough!


distantstorm, I apologize if you thought my comment was directed at you.  Bosco and I have an ongoing disagreement and my response was directed to his comments on Nov 29.  I have no issue with open discussion and dialogue on Android, iPhone, etc.  I do have issue with ignorant comments comprised of things like “those who didn?t know what they were talking about from real experience got all their information from Steve Jobs and Jon Gruber and didn?t bother ever trying to inform themselves” and “trends toward domination”.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

And yet our resident superhero of fairness has no problem with “ignorant comments” about Flash on mobile devices. FYI, on both iPhone and Nexus One (Android 2.2), Angry Birds is far worse on the battery than typical Flash/AIR apps. What’s up with that?


If you are referring to me, I have no idea what you are talking about regarding the Angry Birds comment.  I do not post on macrumors.  Whoever you are talking about there is not me.  (Edit) Ah, I now see a post from an “OldSchoolMacGuy” - Sorry, but that is not me.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Funny Ron, you called my comment out as “ignorant” and have no sense of the context of it. Why am I not surprised?


And funny, Bosco, you quote me as making comments about Flash on mobile devices with a link to a page that I have never seen before.  Why am I not surprised?


Yes, it’s much worse, based on the comments in some random forum thread on another site where one person said it was a battery hog, then 6 commenters disagreed, and one last commenter running an Android phone agreed in great detail.

I normally expect to have overcome high standards of proof from fandroids, but this is insurmountable. It would be pointless to even try.


“More cheap people buying cheap phones running a free OS.”

Ron, your blanket statment on android being on “cheap phones” is silly. There are cheap ones but then there are excellent build quality in the Epic, Evo, Galaxies, and Droids. Now they may be cheap to get as the carriers offer subsidies and the manfactures also take lower margins to push volume and expand the market. Buying it cheaply does not mean it’s a cheaply built phone. You know better than that.

Not to mention that people who do not buy iPhones are not automatically “cheap”. I have many apple computers but own a pre I got free. It was the best value for my needs. I’d rather put more money in my kids college fund than own an iPhone4. That does not make me cheap.

This is the kind of stuff that makes people think Apple fans are arrogant and elitist snobs.


Ethan, you are right.  Unlike some, I can actually admit when I am wrong.  I will stand behind the cheap phone comment to some extent as based on competition I see Verizon having android phones for anywhere from $50 for a Motorola Citrus to $200 for the latest Samsung and Droid phones (after $100 rebates).  I was using the term “cheap” specifically regarding price and not implying that they are lesser quality.  I do know better than that, and was not trying to get into a cell phone quality war.  But I should not have implied that people who buy android phones are cheap.  Should have said “More people buying cheap phones running a free OS.”  Of course the phones are less expensive overall since, unlike Apple, Motorola/Samsung/etc. don’t have to support the extra cost of the OS development/support/maintenance.

And, I will go on record as saying that I have absolutely no issue at all with android phones.  I am just fed up with the constant arguments against any headline that puts Apple in a positive light related to android.  Apple doesn’t have fragmentation issues like android?  Blah blah blah.  iPhone Owners More Loyal Than Android Users?  Blah blah blah.  But whatever.  As I’ve been told before, I shouldn’t take things personally, even ignorant comments.


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