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Brand Loyalty Low Among Smartphone Users

November 29, 2010

Smartphone business may be booming, but customer loyalty is fleeting, according to a new survey released Monday by German market research firm GfK.

According to a Reuters report discussing the survey, more than half of current smartphone owners (56 percent) reported that they were “keeping their options open” about which company’s products they would purchase the next time they needed a new handset. In contrast, only one-fourth (25 percent) said that they planned to “stay loyal” to the operating system running their current phone.

“Loyalty with a handset is a lot more complicated these days in that people buy into experiences at the high-end level,” lead analyst Ryan Garner told the news agency on Monday. “If a phone doesn’t do what it says it will do or what the owner hopes it will do, the maker will lose loyalty.”

GfK’s study found that Apple users were the most loyal, with 59 percent vowing to stick with the brand in the future. Microsoft had the lowest loyalty rate at just 21 percent. Research In Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry device had a 35 percent loyalty rate, and phones using Google’s Android OS posted 28 percent and Nokia Symbian phones checked in at 24 percent.

More than 2,600 people from Germany, Spain, Britain, the United States and China participated in the online, which was conducted in October and November. GfK also discovered that more than one-third of current cellphone users (37 percent) in all regions except for China planned to upgrade to a smartphone in the near future. Chinese participants were not asked for “logistical reasons.”

According to a November 7 article by Matt Hamblen of PC World, third-quarter smartphone sales increased 89.5 percent over the same period in 2009. Furthermore, Hamblen reports that smartphone vendors combined to ship more than 200 million total devices during the first three quarters of 2010–a 67 percent increase over the same time frame last year.

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