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Android users are very loyal to Google, but only until a new iPhone comes along

Updated 4 years ago
Published Nov 17th, 2015 9:47AM EST
iPhone 6s Android Upgrade
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

Apple CEO Tim Cook said during the company’s earnings call for the September quarter that more Android users than ever are switching to the iPhone, with the iPhone 6s having been launched in late September in various markets around the world. A new study further supports that notion, revealing that Android users are very loyal to Google’s operating system when upgrading smartphones, but only as long there’s no new iPhone in town.

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In a new report, Ericsson’s research arm revealed that loyalty to Android is even higher than loyalty to iOS during most of the year (82% vs. 73%), but something odd happens once a new iPhone comes out. iPhone users looking to upgrade are more loyal to Apple than before while loyalty to Google drops significantly. “The regular launch of new iOS smartphones every September causes significant temporal fluctuations in device switching patterns,” Ericsson wrote in the report.

“In the two weeks after the launch of new iOS smartphone models, switching rates of iOS users increased drastically. The iOS loyalty rate rose from 73 to 93 percent. In contrast, for the same period, Android loyalty numbers dropped from 82 to 76 percent. Twice as many Android users switched to new iOS models than before the launch of the new models,” the company said.

Ericsson studied various markets in Europe, Asia and North America for the study, looking at customers’ behaviors related to iOS, Android and Windows devices.

In months preceding iPhone launches, about 1.7% of Android users upgrade to a new Android smartphones, and 0.3% go to iPhone. Meanwhile, 1.1% of iPhone users switch to a new iPhone, while 0.4% go to Android. While that 0.4% seems bigger than 0.3%, suggesting more iPhone users ditch their platform than Android users, that’s not the case, as the numbers are relative to each platform’s user base. Overall, Android has around 80% of the smartphone market, with iPhone accounting for about 15%. That means more Android users are coming to iPhone.

Ericsson’s study, available at the source link, highlighted one other significant detail. Smartphone users who own high-end models are more likely to select new handsets in the same series from the same vendor than users of lower-end models. That means people willing to buy expensive iPhones and Android devices are likely to continue spending top dollar on smartphones in the year to come.

Interestingly, Ericsson says that in more mature markets, as many as 60% of iOS smartphones owners that switched to the iPhone 6s had devices that were only a year old. Graphics from Ericsson’s research follow below.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.