UBS Finds 31% of Android Users Likely to Switch to iPhone

Investment bank UBS issued a report Friday showing that Apple’s iPhone crushed all would-be competitors when its comes to “stickiness,” referring to whether or not owners of a device would stick with that device the next time they upgraded their smartphones. Not only was Apple #1 with an 89% retention rate, well ahead of #2 HTC with a 39% retention rate, the survey found that 31% of Android owners were planning on ditching the little green monster in favor of an iPhone with their next purchase.

UBS surveyed some 515 consumers to measure smartphone stickiness by asking consumers, “which handset OEM they expect to next purchase a handset from,” according to Barron’s. As you can see in the figure below, Apple’s retention rate was far higher than any other OEM, with #2 HTC truly representing a “distant second.” 

UBS Smartphone Retention Survey

Chart by The Mac Observer, from UBS data

The survey also found that when you add up gains and losses for each OEM that 50% of those looking to switch smartphones planned on buying an iPhone. Both Samsung and HTC were also narrowly on the side of net gainers.

Which means there much be a big loser, and in this case it’s two big losers, Nokia and Research In Motion.  Nokia scored at the bottom of the survey, with a 24% retention rate, while RIM was third with 33%, but that’s down from 62% in just 18 months, a precipitous drop.

“When we look at all consumers who are considering changing handset Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) provider, Apple remains a significant net beneficiary — alongside Apple, only Samsung and HTC also appear as net beneficiaries (more users won than users lost),” UBS analyst Gareth Jenkins wrote in a research note for clients. “[RIM] and Nokia are the largest losers.”

He added, “Retention rates appear to be falling for most of the OEMs. The largest loser recently has been RIMM whose retention rate has dropped from 62% to 33% in 18 months. Relatively, Apple’s retention rates have held up incredibly well even as its market share has risen.”

At the same time, when the survey focused on platforms instead of hardware, Android performed better, with 60% of respondents saying they intended to stick with Android. While still far behind Apple’s 89%, it’s better than the retention rate of any individual Android OEM. 

That suggests there’s something about Android that some customers like, they just don’t like the way it’s being packaged by the OEMs.