About a fifth of Android phone owners plan to switch to an iPhone

Posted:
in iPhone
Most smartphone buyers tend to stick with the platform they're familiar with. However, new data from Merrill Lynch indicates that a large percentage of top Android brand users now intend to switch to an iPhone in their next purchase.




Analyst Horace Dediu tweeted out a chart of data compiled by Merrill Lynch Global Research on 32,523 smartphone users ranging from Apple, Blackberry, and Google to a series of global Android licensees: HTC, Huawei, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, Oppo, Samsung, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE.

For each maker, the most popular choice among users for their next phone was another model from the same maker. Among iPhone buyers, that figure was 70 percent. For Samsung and Huawei users, 53 and 54 percent respectively planned to stick with their brand. Just 42 percent of Google owners planned to buy another one, while other brand owners expressed even less loyalty.

Apple was the most popular brand among switchers. Of the top five Android brands globally, 15 to 25 percent said they planned to buy an iPhone next. Among HTC buyers, 25 percent said they intended to get an iPhone, nearly as high as the 34 percent who said they'd get another HTC. Only one percent of iPhone buyers indicated interest in buying an HTC.

That asymmetric brand intention played out across other top brands as well. While 19 percent of Samsung owners said they planned to get an iPhone, only 4 percent of iPhone users were looking at Samsung. The most popular alternative brand iPhone users cited was Huawei. But while 5 percent of iPhone buyers said they planned to switch, 15 percent of Huawei owners said they planned to get an iPhone next.

Other top Chinese brands, including Vivo, Oppo, Xiaomi, and Lenovo's Motorola each got one or two percentage points of interest among iPhone buyers, while 20 percent of their users planned to switch in the opposite direction.

Blackberry and Google represented very small groups in the survey, with less than 50 users. Only 30 percent of Blackberry owners planned to buy another Blackberry, but 22 percent planned to get an iPhone. And even among Google buyers, a group that has gone out of its way to pay a premium for Android specifically to support Google, five times as many said they planned to replace theirs with an iPhone compared to the 1 percent of iPhone users who said they intended to buy a phone from Google.

These figures are markedly different from numbers released in 2015 by Ericsson, which studied actual activations of new phones on a monthly basis. It concluded that "the majority of smartphone users remain loyal to their operating system," and that in particular, "owners of high-end models were much more likely to select a new model in the same series from the same vendor than users of lower-end models."

It noted at the time that "around 80 percent of Android and iOS users are loyal to their operating system," while a small trickle of net switchers were continually flowing into the iOS installed base. At new product releases, however, that flow increased, with about twice as many outside users switching to iOS than there were iOS users buying other products.

If Merrill Lynch's data is anywhere close to being accurate, it means that the former models of switchers have fundamentally changed, and that use of Android is no longer protected by brand loyalty. One element of the OS loyalty Ericsson described three years ago has clearly changed -- it noted that only 20 percent of Windows Phone users were buying another Windows Phone model.

Windows Phone is effectively gone. Yet among Android brands, the intention to switch to iOS has grown dramatically while loyalty to Android has softened. Other things that have changed in the last three years are the collapse of Android tablets and smartwatches, even as iPad has grown in a shrinking market for tablets. At the same time, Apple Watch has become the most popular watch brand globally while Android watches have all but disappeared.
watto_cobra
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 44
    I wonder if those Android users dreaming of switching to iPhone are aware of the extremely high cost of the devices?  Most of the Android phone switchers could buy 2-4 of their Android phones for the cost of one iPhone.
    edited October 10
  • Reply 2 of 44
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,568member
    Price matters to many so when higher end Android phones are closer in price to iPhones, there is no price advantage to be Android user. Moreover, older gen iPhones coming down in price and lots of used iPhones on market at lower price. This covers whole spectrum of phone users who wanted to switch to IOS but price was prohibitive factor. So, fifth of Android phone users switch to IPhone possible.
    jeffharrisfrantisekchialordjohnwhorfinjbdragonclaire1jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 44
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,295member
    wood1208 said:
    Price matters to many so when higher end Android phones are closer in price to iPhones, there is no price advantage to be Android user. Moreover, older gen iPhones coming down in price and lots of used iPhones on market at lower price. This covers whole spectrum of phone users who wanted to switch to IOS but price was prohibitive factor. So, fifth of Android phone users switch to IPhone possible.
    ..and that's been reported to be possible but even true for a very long time. By now Android would presumably have disappeared based on all the claims of them switching to iOS by the millions dating back years.

     I've seen surveys that claim over 60% of all teenagers already own an iPhone, others that say 80% are buying one. I've seen surveys that say most current iPhone owners will be upgrading to "the new iPhone" pretty much every year, another that says half of all current iPhone owners will upgrade this year, and then another that says only about 20% will upgrade within the next 12 months. Apparently surveys might be unreliable. Who knew?
    edited October 10 muthuk_vanalingamdeminsd
  • Reply 4 of 44
    And in other countries (i.e. Not the USA) the situation is probably the other way around.
    It would be nice if the article mentioned where the survey was done and when.

    albegarcwlym
  • Reply 5 of 44
    gatorguy said:
    wood1208 said:
    Price matters to many so when higher end Android phones are closer in price to iPhones, there is no price advantage to be Android user. Moreover, older gen iPhones coming down in price and lots of used iPhones on market at lower price. This covers whole spectrum of phone users who wanted to switch to IOS but price was prohibitive factor. So, fifth of Android phone users switch to IPhone possible.
    ..and that's been reported to be possible but even true for a very long time. By now Android would presumably have disappeared based on all the claims of them switching to iOS by the millions dating back years. I've seen surveys that claim over 60% of all teenagers already own an iPhone, others that say 80% are buying one. I've seen surveys that say most current iPhone owners will be upgrading to "the new iPhone" pretty much every year. Apparently surveys might be unreliable. Who knew?
    Funnily, the data coming out of same survey can be "interpreted" in many ways. Give the same survey results to an Android supporter, headline would read something like "30% of Apple users are going to buy an Android phone next, hence Apple is doomed". Give it to a Huawei supporter, headline would read something like "Most of the iPhone buyers are looking to buy a Huawei phone next" and so on. We need to always take the data and conclusions coming out of any survey with a pinch of salt.
    frantisekclaire1watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 44
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,168member
    gatorguy said:
    wood1208 said:
    Price matters to many so when higher end Android phones are closer in price to iPhones, there is no price advantage to be Android user. Moreover, older gen iPhones coming down in price and lots of used iPhones on market at lower price. This covers whole spectrum of phone users who wanted to switch to IOS but price was prohibitive factor. So, fifth of Android phone users switch to IPhone possible.
    ..and that's been reported to be possible but even true for a very long time. By now Android would presumably have disappeared based on all the claims of them switching to iOS by the millions dating back years. I've seen surveys that claim over 60% of all teenagers already own an iPhone, others that say 80% are buying one. I've seen surveys that say most current iPhone owners will be upgrading to "the new iPhone" pretty much every year. Apparently surveys might be unreliable. Who knew?
    Funnily, the data coming out of same survey can be "interpreted" in many ways. Give the same survey results to an Android supporter, headline would read something like "30% of Apple users are going to buy an Android phone next, hence Apple is doomed". Give it to a Huawei supporter, headline would read something like "Most of the iPhone buyers are looking to buy a Huawei phone next" and so on. We need to always take the data and conclusions coming out of any survey with a pinch of salt.
    The available data shows that;

    1) Apple's iPhone user base is growing

    2) Apple's sales are stable, at about 215 million units per year

    3) Users are keeping their iPhones longer

    4) Net gain from Android OS switchers, vs loss of iOS users

    5) Robust used market for iPhones due to extended life cycle support

    6) Highest ASP

    7) Highest retention of resale value.

    I'd speculate that there is considerably more churn, a shorter upgrade cycle, and faster depreciation, for Android OS devices, and even at that, Android OS device sales are stable, just the same as the iPhone's, but at much lower initial price points than iPhone.

    If would be a winning strategy for Android OS device makers to target premium sales, and they are, but competition amongst all Android OS device makers reduces margins. It's a zero sum market, it's commoditized, and even as device ASP's are growing, margins are not increasing.


    edited October 10 StrangeDaysclaire1jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 44
    gatorguy said:
    wood1208 said:
    Price matters to many so when higher end Android phones are closer in price to iPhones, there is no price advantage to be Android user. Moreover, older gen iPhones coming down in price and lots of used iPhones on market at lower price. This covers whole spectrum of phone users who wanted to switch to IOS but price was prohibitive factor. So, fifth of Android phone users switch to IPhone possible.
    ..and that's been reported to be possible but even true for a very long time. By now Android would presumably have disappeared based on all the claims of them switching to iOS by the millions dating back years.

     I've seen surveys that claim over 60% of all teenagers already own an iPhone, others that say 80% are buying one. I've seen surveys that say most current iPhone owners will be upgrading to "the new iPhone" pretty much every year, another that says half of all current iPhone owners will upgrade this year, and then another that says only about 20% will upgrade within the next 12 months. Apparently surveys might be unreliable. Who knew?
    I just read a survey about that.
    IreneWwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 44
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,726member
    gatorguy said:
    wood1208 said:
    Price matters to many so when higher end Android phones are closer in price to iPhones, there is no price advantage to be Android user. Moreover, older gen iPhones coming down in price and lots of used iPhones on market at lower price. This covers whole spectrum of phone users who wanted to switch to IOS but price was prohibitive factor. So, fifth of Android phone users switch to IPhone possible.
    ..and that's been reported to be possible but even true for a very long time. By now Android would presumably have disappeared based on all the claims of them switching to iOS by the millions dating back years. I've seen surveys that claim over 60% of all teenagers already own an iPhone, others that say 80% are buying one. I've seen surveys that say most current iPhone owners will be upgrading to "the new iPhone" pretty much every year. Apparently surveys might be unreliable. Who knew?
    Funnily, the data coming out of same survey can be "interpreted" in many ways. Give the same survey results to an Android supporter, headline would read something like "30% of Apple users are going to buy an Android phone next, hence Apple is doomed". Give it to a Huawei supporter, headline would read something like "Most of the iPhone buyers are looking to buy a Huawei phone next" and so on. We need to always take the data and conclusions coming out of any survey with a pinch of salt.
    Yes, and almost in the same breath, the author of the tweet admits:

    "What people say and what they do are different things"

    Very much pinch of salt ground.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 9 of 44
    gatorguy said:
    ..and that's been reported to be possible but even true for a very long time. By now Android would presumably have disappeared based on all the claims of them switching to iOS by the millions dating back years.

     I've seen surveys that claim over 60% of all teenagers already own an iPhone, others that say 80% are buying one. I've seen surveys that say most current iPhone owners will be upgrading to "the new iPhone" pretty much every year, another that says half of all current iPhone owners will upgrade this year, and then another that says only about 20% will upgrade within the next 12 months. Apparently surveys might be unreliable. Who knew?
    Apple's share of the market in affluent countries has risen dramatically and keeps rising

    Japan is 72.8% iOS, up 3.4% since 2017.
    The USA is 63.8% iOS, up 3.4% since 2017.
    Canada is 61.2% iOS, up 8.43% since 2017.
    Ireland is 60% iOS
    Sweeden is 55.43% iOS
    UK is 56.9% iOS
    Australia is 50.54% iOS

    https://deviceatlas.com/blog/android-v-ios-market-share

    The Android growth that's left is cheap phones in emerging markets, including India, and poor countries: Malaysia, Colombia. Lots of low-end phones, no money, little benefit to any global installed base.

    If Android were important as a platform, Google wouldn't have dumped it for a ChromeOS tablet. And we know how well that Pixel 3 is going to sell. Samsung can't sell its Galaxy S9 at a premium. Android hasn't been in a worse position since 2011. But what were you saying about teenagers buying iPhones? It didn't make any sense.

    Are you payments from Google getting lighter as you post less?  
    tmayjbdragonStrangeDaysmagman1979claire1jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 44
    Funnily, the data coming out of same survey can be "interpreted" in many ways. Give the same survey results to an Android supporter, headline would read something like "30% of Apple users are going to buy an Android phone next, hence Apple is doomed". Give it to a Huawei supporter, headline would read something like "Most of the iPhone buyers are looking to buy a Huawei phone next" and so on. We need to always take the data and conclusions coming out of any survey with a pinch of salt.
    To have an accurate picture of what's happening, you'd have to compare these results with previous data generated the same way. 

    That's what Bank of America did here, and their conclusion was that more people are switching to iOS than ever before.

    There are not different conclusions coming out of this survey from anyone apart from you, and yours are easy to throw away as uninformed noise. 
  • Reply 11 of 44
    tmay said:
    gatorguy said:
    wood1208 said:
    Price matters to many so when higher end Android phones are closer in price to iPhones, there is no price advantage to be Android user. Moreover, older gen iPhones coming down in price and lots of used iPhones on market at lower price. This covers whole spectrum of phone users who wanted to switch to IOS but price was prohibitive factor. So, fifth of Android phone users switch to IPhone possible.
    ..and that's been reported to be possible but even true for a very long time. By now Android would presumably have disappeared based on all the claims of them switching to iOS by the millions dating back years. I've seen surveys that claim over 60% of all teenagers already own an iPhone, others that say 80% are buying one. I've seen surveys that say most current iPhone owners will be upgrading to "the new iPhone" pretty much every year. Apparently surveys might be unreliable. Who knew?
    Funnily, the data coming out of same survey can be "interpreted" in many ways. Give the same survey results to an Android supporter, headline would read something like "30% of Apple users are going to buy an Android phone next, hence Apple is doomed". Give it to a Huawei supporter, headline would read something like "Most of the iPhone buyers are looking to buy a Huawei phone next" and so on. We need to always take the data and conclusions coming out of any survey with a pinch of salt.
    The available data shows that;

    1) Apple's iPhone user base is growing

    2) Apple's sales are stable, at about 215 million units per year

    3) Users are keeping their iPhones longer

    4) Net gain from Android OS switchers, vs loss of iOS users

    5) Robust used market for iPhones due to extended life cycle support

    6) Highest ASP

    7) Highest retention of resale value.

    I'd speculate that there is considerably more churn, a shorter upgrade cycle, and faster depreciation, for Android OS devices, and even at that, Android OS device sales are stable, just the same as the iPhone's, but at much lower initial price points than iPhone.

    If would be a winning strategy for Android OS device makers to target premium sales, and they are, but competition amongst all Android OS device makers reduces margins. It's a zero sum market, it's commoditized, and even as device ASP's are growing, margins are not increasing.
    Not going to argue with any of the points that you mentioned. Just one observation - All the points you mentioned are outside the scope of this survey.
  • Reply 12 of 44
    And in other countries (i.e. Not the USA) the situation is probably the other way around.
    It would be nice if the article mentioned where the survey was done and when.

    It's not "probably the other way around," this data is not limited to the US. 

    Of course, it does overstate populations by brand. Google-branded phones are a few million in total (fewer than 50 in the survey). There are a billion iOS users. So high rates of Google loyalty aren't very significant, while high loyalty among iPhone buyers is. High aspirational interest in iPhones by owners of Chinese brands (few of which are even available in the US) says something very big about what people who buy Android really want. And what they will trade up to as soon as they can. 

    Android has never been in such a pit of failure across the last ten years of its existence.  Something about shoddy platform security and management, shoddy third party hardware, etc. All Android makers do is copy last year's iPhone. 
    claire1watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 44
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,295member
    tmay said:
    gatorguy said:
    wood1208 said:
    Price matters to many so when higher end Android phones are closer in price to iPhones, there is no price advantage to be Android user. Moreover, older gen iPhones coming down in price and lots of used iPhones on market at lower price. This covers whole spectrum of phone users who wanted to switch to IOS but price was prohibitive factor. So, fifth of Android phone users switch to IPhone possible.
    ..and that's been reported to be possible but even true for a very long time. By now Android would presumably have disappeared based on all the claims of them switching to iOS by the millions dating back years. I've seen surveys that claim over 60% of all teenagers already own an iPhone, others that say 80% are buying one. I've seen surveys that say most current iPhone owners will be upgrading to "the new iPhone" pretty much every year. Apparently surveys might be unreliable. Who knew?
    Funnily, the data coming out of same survey can be "interpreted" in many ways. Give the same survey results to an Android supporter, headline would read something like "30% of Apple users are going to buy an Android phone next, hence Apple is doomed". Give it to a Huawei supporter, headline would read something like "Most of the iPhone buyers are looking to buy a Huawei phone next" and so on. We need to always take the data and conclusions coming out of any survey with a pinch of salt.
    The available data shows that;

    1) Apple's iPhone user base is growing

    2) Apple's sales are stable, at about 215 million units per year

    3) Users are keeping their iPhones longer

    4) Net gain from Android OS switchers, vs loss of iOS users

    5) Robust used market for iPhones due to extended life cycle support

    6) Highest ASP

    7) Highest retention of resale value.

    I'd speculate that there is considerably more churn, a shorter upgrade cycle, and faster depreciation, for Android OS devices, and even at that, Android OS device sales are stable, just the same as the iPhone's, but at much lower initial price points than iPhone.

    If would be a winning strategy for Android OS device makers to target premium sales, and they are, but competition amongst all Android OS device makers reduces margins. It's a zero sum market, it's commoditized, and even as device ASP's are growing, margins are not increasing.


    Nice post Tmay. I think I remember reading overall margins are increasing but otherwise a very well thought out reply. 
    claire1
  • Reply 13 of 44
    Funnily, the data coming out of same survey can be "interpreted" in many ways. Give the same survey results to an Android supporter, headline would read something like "30% of Apple users are going to buy an Android phone next, hence Apple is doomed". Give it to a Huawei supporter, headline would read something like "Most of the iPhone buyers are looking to buy a Huawei phone next" and so on. We need to always take the data and conclusions coming out of any survey with a pinch of salt.
    To have an accurate picture of what's happening, you'd have to compare these results with previous data generated the same way. 

    That's what Bank of America did here, and their conclusion was that more people are switching to iOS than ever before.

    There are not different conclusions coming out of this survey from anyone apart from you, and yours are easy to throw away as uninformed noise. 
    Please read Avon B7's comment above. There was a HUGE rider specified "what people say and what people do are two different things". So my point that "Take it with a pinch of salt" is pretty much valid.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 44
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,295member
    And in other countries (i.e. Not the USA) the situation is probably the other way around.
    It would be nice if the article mentioned where the survey was done and when.

    Android has never been in such a pit of failure across the last ten years of its existence.  
    Haven't you said something along those lines every year (sometimes multiple times) for the last 8 or 9 years? Android is plainly doomed according to all your evidence, but when are you saying this will happen?
    edited October 10 muthuk_vanalingamavon b7
  • Reply 16 of 44
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,726member
    gatorguy said:
    ..and that's been reported to be possible but even true for a very long time. By now Android would presumably have disappeared based on all the claims of them switching to iOS by the millions dating back years.

     I've seen surveys that claim over 60% of all teenagers already own an iPhone, others that say 80% are buying one. I've seen surveys that say most current iPhone owners will be upgrading to "the new iPhone" pretty much every year, another that says half of all current iPhone owners will upgrade this year, and then another that says only about 20% will upgrade within the next 12 months. Apparently surveys might be unreliable. Who knew?
    Apple's share of the market in affluent countries has risen dramatically and keeps rising

    Japan is 72.8% iOS, up 3.4% since 2017.
    The USA is 63.8% iOS, up 3.4% since 2017.
    Canada is 61.2% iOS, up 8.43% since 2017.
    Ireland is 60% iOS
    Sweeden is 55.43% iOS
    UK is 56.9% iOS
    Australia is 50.54% iOS

    https://deviceatlas.com/blog/android-v-ios-market-share

    The Android growth that's left is cheap phones in emerging markets, including India, and poor countries: Malaysia, Colombia. Lots of low-end phones, no money, little benefit to any global installed base.

    If Android were important as a platform, Google wouldn't have dumped it for a ChromeOS tablet. And we know how well that Pixel 3 is going to sell. Samsung can't sell its Galaxy S9 at a premium. Android hasn't been in a worse position since 2011. But what were you saying about teenagers buying iPhones? It didn't make any sense.

    Are you payments from Google getting lighter as you post less?  
    Are those numbers YoY for a period longer than Q2 or just calendar Q2 YoY from 2017 to 2018?
  • Reply 17 of 44
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,064member
    I’ve read so many stories like this over the years, and they never come true. If they did, Apple would have at least 120% marketshare by now.

    as someone who helped write surveys way back, I can say that only a fraction of the people do what they say on the survey.
    muthuk_vanalingamgatorguycroprkevin kee
  • Reply 18 of 44
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,295member

    Are you payments from Google getting lighter as you post less?  
    Ah the obligatory vague accusation intended (and failing) to be personally insulting. Well played sir.

    Your inference I should be posting more will be taken into consideration. Thanks. 
    :)
    edited October 10 muthuk_vanalingamclaire1
  • Reply 19 of 44
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,295member
    gatorguy said:
    ..and that's been reported to be possible but even true for a very long time. By now Android would presumably have disappeared based on all the claims of them switching to iOS by the millions dating back years.

     I've seen surveys that claim over 60% of all teenagers already own an iPhone, others that say 80% are buying one. I've seen surveys that say most current iPhone owners will be upgrading to "the new iPhone" pretty much every year, another that says half of all current iPhone owners will upgrade this year, and then another that says only about 20% will upgrade within the next 12 months. Apparently surveys might be unreliable. Who knew?
    If Android were important as a platform, Google wouldn't have dumped it for a ChromeOS tablet. But what were you saying about teenagers buying iPhones? It didn't make any sense.

    Yeah I know that claim of 80% of teenagers owning iPhones didn't make sense to me either, yet there is it:
    https://www.cnet.com/news/more-than-80-percent-of-teens-own-iphone-survey-says/

    I've no idea where you read that Google dumped Android for ChromeOS. Hardly. They've worked towards making Android apps compatible with the Chrome OS which has significant benefits over an Android-only tablet (doesn't everything? LOL). Surely you research this stuff before writing it.
    edited October 10 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 20 of 44
    deminsd said:
    I wonder if those Android users dreaming of switching to iPhone are aware of the extremely high cost of the devices?  Most of the Android phone switchers could buy 2-4 of their Android phones for the cost of one iPhone.
    How is $450 an extremely high cost? You do realize Apple sells more than one model, right?
    watto_cobra
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