For as much as we talk about the sort of competition we see between individual OEMs, convincing a Samsung user to check out an HTC handset isn’t the biggest accomplishment in the world – that’s reserved for the struggle to get users to switch platforms. While we’ve seen the rise of cross-platform cloud storage tools and media services that in one sense make taking that leap easier than ever, there’s still the downside of having to buy all new apps and simply relearning how to work in a new UI. Point being: getting shoppers to jump ship for a new platform is a big deal, and some recent data suggest that Apple’s been doing a better job of it when it comes to former Android users.
Comparing the phone ownership of this year’s iPhone shoppers to last year’s, participants in one survey show a larger number moving over from Android – 21% this year, versus just 16% last year.
There’s a little more to it than that, though. Those figures don’t exist in a vacuum, and while there may be proportionally more people this year making the transition from Android to iOS, there’s also a big drop-off in the share of feature phone users moving over to iOS. Read between the lines, and you might suspect that a lot of people are picking up a cheap Android for their first smartphones, and then later going to iOS.
But what does that tell us? That Android needs better low-end hardware (and software) in order not to turn away first-timers? Possibly, but there’s another key take-away from this data: compared to last year, a lot fewer iPhone buyers are jumping platforms at all, and it’s mostly previous iOS users simply buying a newer model. That suggests that even if a slightly greater share of Android users are checking out iOS, fewer smartphone users in general are making the switch.
All that said, we’d love to see these same questions asked of a larger user pool. The sample size of merely 400 doesn’t exactly scream “reliable data.”