New data finds that breaking the smartphone duopoly won’t be easy. Apple boasts 76 percent brand retention and Samsung attracts 34 percent of all consumers switching device brands.

By Tim Deluca-Smith, vice president of Marketing at WDS, A Xerox Company.

Despite ground-breaking features and super-slick marketing, smartphones that launched at Mobile World Congress this week have a difficult task ahead if they are to break the Apple and Samsung duopoly. Our analysis into brand retention across smartphone manufacturers shows that 76 percent of Apple customers replace their iPhone with another iPhone, and Samsung retains 58 percent of its customers.

No other smartphone manufacturer managed to keep brand retention above 40 percent, (see Fig.1).

 

Brand retention (%)

Share of all migrating customers (%)

Apple

76%

24%

Samsung

58%

34%

Nokia

33%

8%

HTC

30%

8%

LG

37%

9%

Sony Mobile

24%

4%

Motorola

22%

3%

BlackBerry

21%

3%

Other

n/a

7%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig.1 Brand retention and share of migrating customers (source: WDS, A Xerox Company. 2013)

 

For smartphone manufacturers, brand retention is one of the most important metrics to track. It’s a very solid indication of how successful their device upgrade cycles have been in retaining customers. Both Apple and Samsung are doing very well in keeping customers excited and loyal to their product roadmaps.

Samsung: The switcher’s selection

"For smartphone manufacturers, brand retention is one of the most important metrics to track." -- Tim Deluca-Smith

“Apple and Samsung are doing very well in keeping customers excited and loyal to their product roadmaps.” — Tim Deluca-Smith

While Apple leads in brand retention, Samsung is the top choice for consumers switching from other brands (share of migrating customers). In fact, a third (34 percent) of all switching customers moves to Samsung. Apple follows, attracting almost a quarter (24 percent) of all migrating customers. (See Fig.1).

This metric speaks a lot to the marketing might of Samsung. The company has been very successful in developing solid relationships with almost every mobile operator on the planet, and then building devices to a variety of price-points. This exposes the Samsung portfolio to an enormous base of potential customers. Combined with a strong brand retention rate, this positions Samsung well for 2014.

The smartphone brand retention and migration data forms part of the WDS Mobile Loyalty Audit 2014. The full report is based on more than 4,000 consumer interviews (conducted in January 2014) from the U.K., U.S, South Africa and Australia.

To register your interest in receiving a full copy of the report, please email enquiries@wds.co.

Additional Data:

Impact of age on brand retention (Fig. 2) and share of migrating customers (Fig. 3)

 

Apple

Samsung

16-24

78%

51%

25-34

72%

58%

35-44

71%

59%

45-60

85%

61%

61+

83%

61%

Fig. 2 Brand retention by age (source: WDS, A Xerox Company)

 

 

Apple

Samsung

16-24

35%

26%

25-34

34%

35%

35-44

27%

35%

45-60

14%

35%

61+

18%

34%

Fig. 3 Share of migrating customers by age (source: WDS, A Xerox Company)

 

Impact of contract type on brand retention (Fig.4) and share of migrating customers (Fig. 5)

 

Apple

Samsung

Prepaid

69%

61%

Postpaid

78%

57%

Fig. 4 Brand retention by contract type (source: WDS, A Xerox Company)

 

 

Apple

Samsung

Prepaid

13%

32%

Postpaid

29%

35%

Fig. 5 Share of migrating customers by contract type (source: WDS, A Xerox Company)