Yankee Group Predicts iPhone Will Be Bigger than Android by 2016

| Analysis

#1The Yankee Group's Carl Howe has some bad news for Google, Samsung, and the rest of the Android ecosystem. The Group published the results of a survey that found more than twice as many smartphone owners intend to buy iPhones, and Mr. Howe predicted based on this buyer intent, iPhone will eclipse Android by 2016.

The survey also found that three times as many Android owners intend to switch to iPhone than the other way around, with 6 percent of iPhone owners planning on buying an Android device and 18 percent of Android owners planning on buying an iPhone. It's that customer loyalty that gives Apple the long-term edge, according to the report.

"Apple’s 'black hole' ecosystem captures subscribers who never leave, while Android smartphones are losing one out of every six customers to other manufacturers," Mr. Howe wrote. "These trends will drive Apple ownership well past Android ownership by 2015 and will reinforce Apple’s dominance in tablets as well."

This has the unfortunate side effect of running contrary to the prevailing pundit position that Apple is doomed, fading fast, and floundering, but Mr. Howe apparently didn't bother letting that punditry get in the way of his survey results.

"Despite press excitement about Samsung," he wrote, "Apple continues to gain share against all Android devices. While Samsung may have garnered huge press attention from its Galaxy S IV announcement, consumer intent to buy Samsung phones is less than half that of iPhones in the U.S. In fact, iPhone intent to buy is statistically tied with the intent to buy all Android phones combined."

At the same time, recent data from IDC shows that Apple's iPhone lost significant market share in the March quarter, as competitors like Samsung outgrew Apple. IDC said that Apple had 17.3 percent market share with 37.4 million iPhones sold, compared to the year ago quarter when 35.1 million iPhone sales was good enough for 23 percent share.

That puts the data on the ground at odds with The Yankee Group's survey, at least for the near term, and it remains to be seen how well this survey translates to what consumers actually do. Changewave Research, for instance, has found for many years that a majority of survey respondents planned on buying an iPhone over other platforms, yet Android has grown to reign supreme, especially at the low end.

Then again, there's that whole usage thing. Android owners don't do anything with their devices, at least not compared to iPhone owners. They don't shop with their tablets, they don't download apps, they certainly don't pay for apps. Heck, they don't even do much surfing. We've been trying to understand this gap since it first became apparent.

The usage gap is consistent with the survey's results. Apple consistently has the highest customer satisfaction rates, so it makes sense that this survey finds that iPhone owners are going to stick with iPhone, accounting for that black hole Mr. Howe described.

To that end, even with pundits screaming about how bad it is that Apple doesn't have a 5-inch smartphone/phablet, Apple was still the number two vendor in the March quarter, according to IDC. That's a very salient piece of information that the Apple haters and fandroids gloss over when touting the wonders of their megaphones and how it demonstrates the supremacy of Android.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Lee Dronick

On the other hand this writer says Apple is getting crushed, crushed I tell you, by Samsung.



Shouldn’t it read ‘RE-eclipse’ Android in the original piece? How quickly we forget these, days. Sigh.



Assuming the predicted demand for iPhones comes to pass, will Apple be able to keep up with an adequate supply?

Timothy Tripp

As total market grows and the low end users migrate from Symbian “smart-ish” phones and full blown dumb phones into the smartphone category, it’s a given that most of those users will not be able to afford Apple devices and data plans to warrant carrier subsidies of those Apple phones.  Android phone market share will benefit, but total revenues from iOS devices is going to dwarf total revenue of Android (including music/app purchases and data plans).  The Galaxy S4 and HTC One are great phones, and the users who shell out for those high end devices will generate Apple-like revenue and usage, but a huge part of the Android user base is using old phones, got them on a 2-for-1 clearance deal and/or just doesn’t have the same level of disposable income as a typical Apple user.  Android is also more “Linux-like” and a lot of its users believe that software, music and movies should be free not paid, which lowers total revenue for the platform.  The markets are just VERY different and it’s not all in the device numbers.



Back to the question of what are these Android users doing with their devices, from a global perspective (not speaking of users in Europe, USA, Japan or Australia), most of these devices are likely being sold in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa to low and middle-income countries. I see this trend where I work.

Most of these users lack access to the supportive infrastructures that would enable a robust online experience, and even if they had access, they lack the disposable income and, in many cases, the knowledge of what constitutes a modern online experience, to take advantage of it.

What I see most people out here doing with these Android phones, most of which are made by non-descript OEMs, is phone calls, texting and limited email (those whose employers support email); in other words, an oh-so-2003 Blackberry experience, or as I sometimes think of it, facilitated feature phone usage. With a mega-screen.


This simply demonstrates that North America is a technology backwater, particularly in mobile.

It’s no coincidence that Microsoft’s atrocious browser Internet Explorer and Apple’s laughably obsolete mobile platform enjoy majority market share in only the North American market.

One Superbowl commercial is pretty much all it takes for the unsophisticated and astonishing malleable North American consumers to fall all over themselves to purchase and use second-rate tech.


When it comes to customer loyalty, there is also the factor of carrier loyalty, as well as device loyalty. How many people put off getting an iPhone when the carrier was limited to ATT?

As the number of carriers that support iPhone increases, so will the numbers of people who migrate to iPhone. I know a lot of people who went out and got an iPhone the day their carrier added iPhones to their device list.

And despite the lack of subsidy in iPhone price, more no-contract plans and pre-paid plans that allow iPhones will also increase iPhone sales over all.

With these ideas in mind, it is not an outrageous claim to predict iPhone coming back to dominate the smart phone market.

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