Once smartphone users have decided on an operating system, it’s very hard to get them to move away from it.
Looking at data from the past two years, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners found that both Google’s Android system and Apple’s iOS retained customers at about the same rate. When it came to activating new phones, 82% of Android users and 78% of iOS users stuck with their previous operating system.
Although the company didn’t have official data on exactly why consumers remained loyal to their operating system, CIRP partner and co-founder Mike Levin suggested that inertia might be the biggest factor. “There’s a lot of ancillary factors like hardware and carrier,” he tells Marketing Daily. “But once you get to learn one [operating system], there’s no need to learn another one.”
There is one time when consumers are more likely to switch operating systems than others: When they switch carriers. But that switch generally happens in one direction, and it’s not in Apple’s favor.
Among customers who switched mobile carriers and phones at the same time, 79% of Android users remained with the system, while only 51% of iOS users remained with the system when they switched carriers.
“Switching carriers seems to present an opportunity,” Levin says. “[However], it might be more of a correlation than a causation.”
It could also have to do with the carrier. Among customers who switched to AT&T and Verizon, switching from Android to iOS was more prevalent, but those switching to T-Mobile and Sprint — which have both been aggressively recruiting new subscribers — the switch from iOS to Android was more common.
“As T-Mobile and Sprint disrupt the US mobile carrier market with innovative and aggressive contracts and pricing, it prompts considerably more mobile carrier switching,” Levin says. “This disruption similarly affects operating system loyalty, with more benefit to Android than to iOS.”