Apple narrows iOS loyalty rate gap with Android in Q3, retention rates at all-time high

Posted:
in iPhone edited October 11
Apple's iOS is catching up to Google's Android in terms of customer loyalty, continuing a three-year trend that has seen both operating systems enjoy extremely high retention rates, according to a research report published Thursday.




Citing fresh polling data, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners reports iOS loyalty rates hit a high of 89 percent during the three months ending in September. That compares to a 92 percent loyalty rate for Android over the same period.

CIRP surveyed 500 people in its quarterly survey. Loyalty was measured as the percentage of users who remain with a particular operating system when activating a new phone over a trailing year.

From September 2016 through September 2018, Android loyalty plotted at between 89 and 92 percent. Over that same period, iOS loyalty was between 85 to 89 percent, CIRP says.

The latest results represent new highs for both platforms, and arrive as Apple and Google vie for users in an increasingly saturated smartphone market.

"Loyalty has crept up for both iOS and Android in the past two years, to the highest levels we've seen," said Mike Levin, partner and co-founder of CIRP. "Basically, For the past three years, around 90 percent of US smartphone users remain with their same operating system when they buy a new smartphone."

Apple over the past few quarters has put a focus on so-called "switchers" as it seeks new avenues of growth in developed markets. A CIRP analysis in June found roughly 20 percent of new iPhone users came from the Android camp, though many switchers at the time were electing to enter Apple's ecosystem through cheaper handsets like iPhone SE.

"Over time we've seen analysis that predicts OS switching, particularly from Android to iOS, will increase going forward," said Josh Lowitz, partner and co-founder of CIRP. "That's absolutely possible, but it would represent a significant change from the long-term trend. These analyses are based asking what consumer plan or intend to do, which as we know is highly subjective and often more aspirational than realistic."

It appears both Apple and Google have their work cut out for them as consumers in relatively mature markets become further entrenched in the ecosystems of their respective OS of choice.

"In the past two years we've seen loyalty rates of iOS and Android begin to converge," Levin said. "While the data indicates Android has a slighly [sic] higher loyalty rate, iOS has narrowed what was a small gap to begin with, to the point that both enjoy approximately the same, very high loyalty."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,678member
    Is mobile operating system loyalty even a thing? The Android market is flooded with countless numbers of products from a sea of vendors at every imaginable price point and quality level. iOS is single vendor, single brand, and single product line. I personally think this measure from CIRP is total crapola. Let’s see brand loyalty, Apple versus every other brand standing on its own. Comparing one Apple to a sea of Oranges is totally bogus.

    lkruppgilly017
  • Reply 2 of 38
    I think Google’s “loyalty” could be reread as, “cheap people are still cheap, some are now aware they use Android.”

    When you ask all but the geekiest of Android users why they don’t have an iPhone nine times out of ten they say iPhones are too expensive. And the timed they don’t it’s normally something stupid like, “my friend says it’s better” or “I had an iPhone and the screen broke.” (Typically their android phone is already broken.)
    claire1cecil444lordjohnwhorfinelijahggilly017
  • Reply 3 of 38
    How do they reconcile these loyalty numbers with customer satisfaction (where Apple routinely scores at the top)?
    cecil444
  • Reply 4 of 38
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,258member
    How do they reconcile these loyalty numbers with customer satisfaction (where Apple routinely scores at the top)?
    Why would that need reconciliation, not that Apple and Samsung's smartphone satisfaction ratings for example aren't already within 1 point of each other according to JDPower.The American Customer Satisfaction rankings a few months ago came to the same general conclusion. 

    The only thing the CIRP numbers are saying is that consumers are extremely loyal to the platform they are currently using and consistently so for the past several years, not that Android users specifically are wedded to the exact handset OEM they're currently using. They're exceedingly likely to stay within Android just as iOS users are extremely likely to stay within the Apple ecosystem. Sure there's switchers, but rather than using a survey that asks a user what their plans for their next phone are, CIRP's numbers tell you what they actually did. 
    edited October 11 muthuk_vanalingambb-15
  • Reply 5 of 38

    When you ask all but the geekiest of Android users why they don’t have an iPhone nine times out of ten they say iPhones are too expensive. And the timed they don’t it’s normally something stupid like, “my friend says it’s better” or “I had an iPhone and the screen broke.” (Typically their android phone is already broken.) 
    Then there are the people, like my brother-in-law (who is not a tech person), who insists he won’t use Android because of the privacy issues he’s heard about but is using a phone running Android and doesn’t seem to know. 
    Dead_Poolclaire1lordjohnwhorfingilly017
  • Reply 6 of 38
    claire1claire1 Posts: 446unconfirmed, member
    This contradicts the report from yesterday or was it the day before?

    I think Google’s “loyalty” could be reread as, “cheap people are still cheap, some are now aware they use Android.”

    When you ask all but the geekiest of Android users why they don’t have an iPhone nine times out of ten they say iPhones are too expensive. And the timed they don’t it’s normally something stupid like, “my friend says it’s better” or “I had an iPhone and the screen broke.” (Typically their android phone is already broken.)

    I've literally heard this stupidity and couldn't believe how stupid these people were. They didn't know android copied Apple's glass design I guess....
  • Reply 7 of 38
    It would be far more telling to compare loyalty based on price points. 

    Regarding iOS vs Android: from an „Apple POV“ it is fair to compare iOS vs „the rest“. Do other operating systems even count anymore?
  • Reply 8 of 38
    LatkoLatko Posts: 122member
    Using a sample of 500 people in a market of billions is like looking out of the window and saying “Gonna be a great summer this year”.
    edited October 12 claire1
  • Reply 9 of 38
    claire1 said:
    This contradicts the report from yesterday or was it the day before?

    I think Google’s “loyalty” could be reread as, “cheap people are still cheap, some are now aware they use Android.”

    When you ask all but the geekiest of Android users why they don’t have an iPhone nine times out of ten they say iPhones are too expensive. And the timed they don’t it’s normally something stupid like, “my friend says it’s better” or “I had an iPhone and the screen broke.” (Typically their android phone is already broken.)

    I've literally heard this stupidity and couldn't believe how stupid these people were. They didn't know android copied Apple's glass design I guess....
    I feel like the broken screen argument eventually leads back to the “iPhones are too expensive” argument — they didn’t want to pay for the repair or replacement, so turned to a cheaper device with cheaper repair options. 
    1983elijahg
  • Reply 10 of 38
    croprcropr Posts: 833member

    I think Google’s “loyalty” could be reread as, “cheap people are still cheap, some are now aware they use Android.”

    When you ask all but the geekiest of Android users why they don’t have an iPhone nine times out of ten they say iPhones are too expensive. And the timed they don’t it’s normally something stupid like, “my friend says it’s better” or “I had an iPhone and the screen broke.” (Typically their android phone is already broken.)
    If I ask to the Android users in my neighbourhood  they say: "my $300 Android fulfils my requirements, run all the apps I want to use and it does it very smoothly.  So why change and pay double the price, for something that does not even have a SD card slot or a headphone connector?". 

    3 years ago you could question this statement but in 2018 they have a valid point.  The current $300 devices are very well built and are fast enough for all major tasks.  So I wonder if your definition of cheap is rather cheap.
    muthuk_vanalingamgatorguy1983IreneWmicrobeelijahg
  • Reply 11 of 38
    techrulestechrules Posts: 52unconfirmed, member
    That is a pretty decent jump. I would love to see them start breaking it down inside Android with the Pixel. I would bet that would be a lot higher. With the AI stuff Google is doing and then the fact they do not play the game of trying to use new features to get you to get a new phone is going to increase loyalty. Companies like Samsung plays the game of trying to use updates as a way to get you to buy a new phone. So the Pixel 2 people get the new incredible camera besides the wide selfie. They get the call screening. They get majority of the new features. I carry both an iPhone and a Pixel 2 XL but there is little chance I will not be using a Pixel for a very long time. I have used iPhones since the 3G and would say I am probably already more loyal to the Pixel. It is what I use more and more.
    edited October 12
  • Reply 12 of 38

    When you ask all but the geekiest of Android users why they don’t have an iPhone nine times out of ten they say iPhones are too expensive. And the timed they don’t it’s normally something stupid like, “my friend says it’s better” or “I had an iPhone and the screen broke.” (Typically their android phone is already broken.) 
    Then there are the people, like my brother-in-law (who is not a tech person), who insists he won’t use Android because of the privacy issues he’s heard about but is using a phone running Android and doesn’t seem to know. 
    Hahaha. I have run into this same thing. Some folks believe that Android is a brand of phone and not an operating system.  
    bb-15claire1
  • Reply 13 of 38
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,258member
    jcs2305 said:

    When you ask all but the geekiest of Android users why they don’t have an iPhone nine times out of ten they say iPhones are too expensive. And the timed they don’t it’s normally something stupid like, “my friend says it’s better” or “I had an iPhone and the screen broke.” (Typically their android phone is already broken.) 
    Then there are the people, like my brother-in-law (who is not a tech person), who insists he won’t use Android because of the privacy issues he’s heard about but is using a phone running Android and doesn’t seem to know. 
    Hahaha. I have run into this same thing. Some folks believe that Android is a brand of phone and not an operating system.  
    True. Google themselves is making a point of emphasizing "Pixel" branding to avoid lumping in their uniquely featured and relatively expensive handsets with Android as a whole which has an undeserved connection to "cheap" for some folks (FUD is effective) including some here. 
  • Reply 14 of 38
    19831983 Posts: 1,101member
    techrules said:
    That is a pretty decent jump. I would love to see them start breaking it down inside Android with the Pixel. I would bet that would be a lot higher. With the AI stuff Google is doing and then the fact they do not play the game of trying to use new features to get you to get a new phone is going to increase loyalty. Companies like Samsung plays the game of trying to use updates as a way to get you to buy a new phone. So the Pixel 2 people get the new incredible camera besides the wide selfie. They get the call screening. They get majority of the new features. I carry both an iPhone and a Pixel 2 XL but there is little chance I will not be using a Pixel for a very long time. I have used iPhones since the 3G and would say I am probably already more loyal to the Pixel. It is what I use more and more.
    The few that I know that have switched from iOS to Android seem to be very happy with their choice. They think it’s a better OS (the old days when Android was indeed an iOS ripoff are long gone now) add to that the enormous choice of handsets and price ranges they now have is a win-win for them (mind you they still seem to go mainly for Samsung!) As for me, maybe Android is better maybe it isn’t but iOS serves my needs well enough. I also think Apple still has the edge when it comes to security and privacy, which is important to me. So I’m staying, but over the last couple of years I have become increasingly disillusioned by Apple and am not the fanboy I used to be. A bit like an unhappy marriage I suppose, where you stay for the kids.
    edited October 12 larryamicrobeelijahg
  • Reply 15 of 38
    I think Google’s “loyalty” could be reread as, “cheap people are still cheap, some are now aware they use Android.”
    Why so derisive?  Not everybody needs a flagship phone.  Low to mid-range is more than enough.  Do you drive a top of the line luxury car, and if not why not?  Are you cheap?
    1983muthuk_vanalingamrogifan_newmicrobeelijahg
  • Reply 16 of 38
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,258member
    I think Google’s “loyalty” could be reread as, “cheap people are still cheap, some are now aware they use Android.”
    Why so derisive?  Not everybody needs a flagship phone.  Low to mid-range is more than enough.  Do you drive a top of the line luxury car, and if not why not?  Are you cheap?
    Only poor people buy domestic so of course not! Everyone aspires to a Maybach, but some are stuck with trucks and SUV's 'cause they can't afford what they really wanted.
    edited October 12
  • Reply 17 of 38
    larryalarrya Posts: 514member
    I think Google’s “loyalty” could be reread as, “cheap people are still cheap, some are now aware they use Android.”

    When you ask all but the geekiest of Android users why they don’t have an iPhone nine times out of ten they say iPhones are too expensive. And the timed they don’t it’s normally something stupid like, “my friend says it’s better” or “I had an iPhone and the screen broke.” (Typically their android phone is already broken.)
    It is telling that you and others here are focused on why Android users aren’t switching rather than why more Apple users are. 
    edited October 12 microbeelijahg
  • Reply 18 of 38
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,694member
    techrules said:
    That is a pretty decent jump. I would love to see them start breaking it down inside Android with the Pixel. I would bet that would be a lot higher. With the AI stuff Google is doing and then the fact they do not play the game of trying to use new features to get you to get a new phone is going to increase loyalty. Companies like Samsung plays the game of trying to use updates as a way to get you to A1buy a new phone. So the Pixel 2 people get the new incredible camera besides the wide selfie. They get the call screening. They get majority of the new features. I carry both an iPhone and a Pixel 2 XL but there is little chance I will not be using a Pixel for a very long time. I have used iPhones since the 3G and would say I am probably already more loyal to the Pixel. It is what I use more and more.
    I'm in a similar situation. Every time I use iOS on a phone I get the sensation that I lose many options. I have received many Android updates that have given me features from higher end models, all updates have been silky smooth, I already know that Android Pie is in beta for my model and won't be long until the final version lands. I will get at least two years of security updates and constant updates many core apps and services.


  • Reply 19 of 38
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,678member
    This is just a continuation of a grand delusion that promoters of Android have been trying to foist upon consumers since the Android platform first slithered on to the scene. It's all BS, Android BS (ABS) to be more precise. Profits are captured at the brand level, not the platform level. In Apple's case the platform is baked into a single brand and is irrelevant. There are a whole bunch of branded products that happen to use Android as a platform, but Android is a not a brand. Trying to pass off Android as a brand is all part of the ABS grand delusion.

    Say there are 50 branded products that use Android and there is one Apple. That means you have 51 brands competing for a sale. If a customer buys an LG phone built on Android then exactly one (1) brand wins the sale and reaps the profit and fifty (50) brands lose out. If Apple makes the sale the situation is exactly the same, 1 winner and 50 losers. The core lie in the the ABS grand delusion is that any sale from a brand that uses Android is a win for everyone in the Android camp. That's total BS, unless of course all 50 brands using Android are also sharing the profit from the sale, which we know they are not. Even it they were, the profit share would be tiny.

    Trying to portray Android as a single brand and single profit center competing against Apple as a single vendor and single profit center (which it is) is a scheme intended to make Android appear more competitively relevant than it really is. But profits don't lie, and when it comes to profits, which are collected at the brand level, Apple is crushing Android. If you want to award a "participation trophy" to Android for showing up for so many losing battles, go ahead. It might make you feel better if you're an Android proponent, but it doesn't change the outcome of the bottom-line battle that matters.
    tmaychia
  • Reply 20 of 38
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,258member
    dewme said:
    This is just a continuation of a grand delusion that promoters of Android have been trying to foist upon consumers since the Android platform first slithered on to the scene. It's all BS, Android BS (ABS) to be more precise. Profits are captured at the brand level, not the platform level. In Apple's case the platform is baked into a single brand and is irrelevant. There are a whole bunch of branded products that happen to use Android as a platform, but Android is a not a brand. Trying to pass off Android as a brand is all part of the ABS grand delusion.

    Say there are 50 branded products that use Android and there is one Apple. That means you have 51 brands competing for a sale. If a customer buys an LG phone built on Android then exactly one (1) brand wins the sale and reaps the profit and fifty (50) brands lose out. If Apple makes the sale the situation is exactly the same, 1 winner and 50 losers. The core lie in the the ABS grand delusion is that any sale from a brand that uses Android is a win for everyone in the Android camp. That's total BS, unless of course all 50 brands using Android are also sharing the profit from the sale, which we know they are not. Even it they were, the profit share would be tiny.

    Trying to portray Android as a single brand and single profit center competing against Apple as a single vendor and single profit center (which it is) is a scheme intended to make Android appear more competitively relevant than it really is. But profits don't lie, and when it comes to profits, which are collected at the brand level, Apple is crushing Android. If you want to award a "participation trophy" to Android for showing up for so many losing battles, go ahead. It might make you feel better if you're an Android proponent, but it doesn't change the outcome of the bottom-line battle that matters.
    You're kinda right. The tendency here is to lump every not-iOS handset into a big old "cheap Android" basket when that's not accurate at all. There's OEM's that compete well and highly rated, ie Samsung. There's mid-range "hero" devices like the OnePlus 6, carrying a banner for inexpensive doesn't mean cheap. And there's premium handsets from the likes of LG and Samsung and Pixel that ride up there in the premium-pricing territory that Apple dominates. But there's also very good but very inexpensive handsets that make smartphones and the valuable services they provide available to those who would otherwise be disadvantaged, effectively locked out, ie Moto and Nokia. There's those that get regular updates, again from Nokia, Samsung high-end Galaxy's, Pixel, OnePlus, and those that don't. 

    As you say throwing every handset running the Android OS together as tho there's no difference from one to another is patently false, yet here the "grand delusion" is regularly on display: "Android is cheap" or "Android smartphones never get updates" or "Android folks can't afford an iPhone LOL" or "Android users are not as smart as we are" with the occasional bit of profanity dropped in for good measure (as tho profanity must prove it's true)

    So yeah I guess I do agree with you. Painting every Android OEM and every Android user and every Android handset with the same brush might "make you feel better" but it doesn't make it any more true. They aren't the same and that's what's advantageous about it. One or three sizes do not fit all. 
    edited October 12 dewme
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