Today brought a rather interesting piece of news. Consumer Intelligence Research Partners has compiled a survey showing the statistics behind customer behaviour when it comes to smartphone OS loyalty. It shows very clearly which operating systems keep customers’ interests, and which operating systems seem to push customers away.
The results were very clear to see. They appear to suggest that Android and iOS are the two most favoured operating systems when it comes to upgrades, and that between iOS and Android, it was Apple’s software that proved most popular. 64% of Android customers decided to stick with Android, whilst 34% had switched to iOS. Customers who used iOS proved most loyal, with 88% deciding to remain with iOS, and only 9% switching to Android. To argue the supremacy of iOS over Android or vice versa is essentially pointless, because the choice is ultimately subjective, and based on a great many variables when it comes to customer preference. The results are much clearer in showing that iOS and Android are the two most favoured operating systems in the mobile technology world.
Perhaps more astounding than the loyalty rates of the two smartphone giants, is the droves of customers that seem to be turning away from Windows Phone and Blackberry in favour of their better-established counterparts. Only 7% of Blackberry customers returned to Blackberry, with the majority turning to iOS (59%), and a significant portion (32%) turning to Android. Likewise, only 9% of Windows customers returned to Windows, with the emigration rate to Android and iOS totally equally at 36% each. But why is that? Which features of Android keep drawing people back to their phones, and what is it about Windows and Blackberry that turns its customers off? Time for an investigation…
I think the most attractive features of iOS and Android phones are fairly obvious for all to see. The iPhone is a device of quality and premium design. It has an aura of greatness and prestige about it that draws customers to it as though it had its own centre of gravity. Perhaps its because of its exclusivity, its unique design or Apple’s smart advertising, regardless, the iPhone seems to draw customers inexplicably to it. Furthermore, there are many great features of iOS. Most notably, its incredible ease of use, its simple design and incredible speed. iOS is a great operating system, it isn’t perfect, but it really is phenomenal. Furthermore, the ecosystem of Apple is a real killer when it comes to customer loyalty. From my personal experience, I’ve discovered that once you buy into the Apple ecosystem, it’s incredibly hard to leave that system. Most notably, the synchronisation of music, movies, documents, appointments, reminders and notes all add up to provide iOS users a seamless user experience.
The same can be said of Android, the Google ecosystem offers some really nice benefits, very similar to that of iOS. In both cases,the loyalty benefit is huge. Customers are less inclined to leave an ecosystem that works for them. Furthermore, as a customer invests time and money into that ecosystem to tailor it to their specific needs, it becomes increasingly harder to start afresh inside the confines of a new operating system.
On top of all this, both of these operating systems have excellent app stores, the App Store and Google Play offer hundreds-of thousands of apps, a feature unmatched by Blackberry and Windows. Granted, the Windows app store is growing, but it will be a considerable amount of time before it becomes competitive against Android and iOS, both of which are also growing. All of the apps offered receive tremendous support, and overall, offer excellent user experiences.
Android also offers numerous advantages that can’t be found in iOS. For example, freedom of customization. The much more open nature of Android is very appealing to some, and whilst the exclusivity and stability of iOS is cool, Android just offers users so much more freedom and choice when creating a unique user experience.
Android is also helped by the large number of powerful phones that run its software, such as the Samsung Galaxy SIII, the HTC One X, the Nexus series, and numerous entrants from Motorola.
iOS and Android are both incredible operating systems, and the hardware that runs these systems really marks the pinnacle of smartphone development. With Windows and Blackberry however, the story is rather different.
As a former Blackberry owner, I’m certainly qualified to suggest many things about the system that might push users away after a long time of use. Blackberry is an incredibly unreliable platform, both when it comes to hardware and software. When I used it, I experienced numerous crashes, glitches and bugs, and I’m not an isolated case. Blackberry’s user interface is also starting to look outdated, whilst that may be true of iOS too, at least iOS was good to begin with… The awesome features of Blackberry, such as physical keyboards and BBM are totally overshadowed by a lack of apps, and very unreliable software. The Blackberry hardware is also pretty underwhelming, and whilst it may do the job of running Blackberry OS, it certainly don’t stack up to the powerhouse phones of Apple and Android. There is no Blackberry ecosystem to invest in, which is probably a good thing, because any such ecosystem would undoubtedly be pants… And we’re yet to see what BB10 can offer us, and what it does to the market. It was only announced today, and despite Alicia Keys giving it her 100% devotion, early reviews are showing it as being less than perfect.
When it comes to Windows Phone however, I’m a little more confused. You see, Windows Phone, unlike Blackberry, is fresh and exciting, it’s got great customisability options, some really cool features, and a great user interface. What’s more, Microsoft’s partnership with Nokia is producing some incredible hardware. I’ve had to think long and hard about this, but I do have a couple of ideas. As I mentioned before, the Windows app store is no where near the iOS or Android stores in terms of selection and support. Although quality of development is top notch. I also believe that Windows may be suffering simply because it’s not as established or trusted as the major systems. This in turn has an impact on support, app development and interest in general. Most companies would probably neglect their Windows Phone app if time needed to be allocated to their iOS or Android equivalents.
The Windows ecosystem is also much less impressive than Android and iOS. Windows is still trying to find its feet in the smartphone market, whilst it shows plenty of promise and some really excellent features, maybe it’s not quite doing enough to keep the customers coming back. I really like Windows Phone, and I have high hopes that in the near future it will be a trusted and well established OS, just like Android and iOS, maybe then customers will be more inclined to stick around. Until then, it seems as though Android and iOS reign supreme, and as for Blackberry…