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11/29/2010
08:51 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Smartphone Users Not Brand Loyal - Except iPhone Users

Apple iPhone users are far more loyal to their brand of choice than are users of any other smartphone platform.

According to a new survey coming out of Germany, most smartphone users will happily change brands if they find that their current smartphone doesn't do what they need it to do. The results indicate that only one in four smartphone users plan to stay loyal to their operating system.

Apple iPhone users score the highest on the loyalty yardstick, with 59% saying they planned to stay with the iPhone. Research In Motion's BlackBerry platform came in second, with 35% saying they'd choose another BlackBerry. Google's Android platform rated 28%, Nokia's Symbian platform rated 24%, and Microsoft's Windows Phone rated the lowest, at 21%. (The study doesn't mention HP/Palm's webOS platform.)

Ryan Garner, the lead analyst on the survey, told Reuters in an interview, "Loyalty with a handset is a lot more complicated these days in that people buy into experiences at the high-end level. 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."

The company that conducted the survey, Gfk, polled some 2,653 users in Brazil, Germany, Spain, Britain, the United States and China during October and November. About 37% of the respondents (excluding China) noted that they planned to upgrade their phone with their next purchase, though the survey didn't spell out what features those users were seeking.

Most smartphones already cover the basics, which features such as 1GHz processors, 3G, Wi-Fi, GPS, 5+ megapixel cameras, Bluetooth, app stores, and large touch displays. Smartphones that have appeared in the last six months tend to have larger, higher-resolution displays, and better cameras. Perhaps that is what smartphone users are looking for when it comes time to upgrade.

For smartphone makers, it isn't enough to convince consumers to but once. They need to convince them to buy over and over again.

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