Mar 19, 2010

Android Equals iPhone in Smartphone Loyalty - Crowd Science

By Sandra Marshall, VP Research - Crowd Science

Earlier this year at Crowd Science, we conducted a study among cell phone and smartphone users, to investigate awareness and brand usage of Android phones. This study also cast a spotlight on the newly introduced Google Nexus One smartphone once it hit the marketplace as the study was ongoing.

In conducting the study, our intent was to see if there were any interesting differences between Android users (if we could capture enough of them to analyse) and iPhone users. In the end we found them to be more similar than different. We came across some interesting findings that pointed to favourable ratings on brand loyalty dimensions among Android and iPhone users, and in the process discovered some less-than-stellar results for the Blackberry brand in satisfaction measures.

Android awareness increases after introduction of Google Nexus One
First, a little bit about what we found out regarding general awareness of the Android operating system….before the Google Nexus One came on the scene, six-in-ten had ever heard of the Android OS, but awareness increased six points to reach 66% after the Google Nexus One was released on January 5th of this year.

Post-launch awareness of the Google Nexus One phone – among those not using Android phones – is 58%. Not unexpectedly, smartphone users demonstrate greater levels of awareness: 75% of Blackberry users, and an even larger proportion of iPhone users (91%), are aware of the Nexus One brand.

Developers more familiar with Android operating system

After being asked if they had ever heard of the Android operating system, respondents were asked how ‘familiar’ they were with it. About one-in-ten of non-Android users say they’re familiar with it, but among those who are developers, this skews higher, with 13% of developers (vs. 6% of non-developers) claiming familiarity with the Android OS. Perhaps this may not be surprising, given the fact that Android is an open source platform that would appeal to developers – as well as the fact that a significantly larger proportion of developers stray from the mainstream in their use of a broader array of smartphone brands, i.e., ‘other’ than Blackberry, iPhone or even Android (35%, vs. 19% of non-developers).

Android users skew younger, lower income
So what kind of people in our study tend to use Android phones? Generally, we found them to skew younger, and accordingly, lower income, than either iPhone or Blackberry users. Business users tend to be more prevalent among those using Blackberry phones, yielding the largest proportion of business-only users among the three brands.

Accordingly, iPhone and Android users are comprised of larger proportions of ‘personal-only’ users. In all cases, however, all three brands of smartphone yield a majority who use their cell phone for both business and personal purposes.

Android and iPhone demonstrate strong brand loyalty
When faced with the hypothetical situation of buying a cell phone tomorrow, Android and iPhone users alike demonstrated a high degree of brand loyalty. Each group was asked how likely they were to buy an iPhone, how likely to buy an Android phone, as well as how likely to buy some ‘other’ type of smartphone, using a 5-point scale of likelihood. The main intent, here, was to see if there might be any migration between Apple’s iPhone and the Android operating system. Instead, what we found was that each group was quite loyal to their own phone with about 9-in-10 saying they’d be likely to buy their own type of phone tomorrow. There was no statistical difference between Android users likely to buy an iPhone tomorrow or vice versa. Blackberry users yield higher proportions (34%) likely to buy an Android tomorrow compared with iPhone users (24%). Interestingly, almost 4-in-10 Blackberry users are likely to buy an iPhone tomorrow.

Satisfaction high among Android and iPhone users, lower among Blackberry usersAs it turns out, a good portion of Android users tend to be satisfied with their phones (61%), as are iPhone users (76%). iPhone users, however, yield a significantly greater proportion of those satisfied with their phone, when compared with Blackberry users (42%).

One might wonder about the ways the phones are used, with Blackberry used more for business purposes – perhaps provided by businesses to their employees, without offering a choice of phone type? Is satisfaction tied to the way the phone is selected, or how it is used? What about the applications that are available to use? Clearly more research might help us answer these and other questions to understand more about the lower level of satisfaction with Blackberry phones – perhaps the subject of one of our upcoming research endeavours.