Apple & Samsung vs The Rest

Apple boasts 76  per cent brand retention and Samsung attracts 34  per cent of all consumers switching device brands.

New data from WDS, a Xerox company, finds that breaking the smartphone duopoly won’t be easy.

Press release

February 24th 2014. Despite ground-breaking features and super-slick marketing, smartphones launching at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2014 have a difficult task ahead if they are to break the Apple and Samsung duopoly. Analysis into brand retention across smartphone manufacturers by WDS, a Xerox company, shows that 76 per cent of Apple customers replace their iPhone with another iPhone, while 34 per cent of all consumers switching device brands choose Samsung.

WDS, a specialist in customer care solutions for the mobile industry, conducted more than 3000 interviews with smartphone owners in three flagship smartphone markets: – the USA, UK and Australia.

The data forms part of the company’s annual WDS Mobile Loyalty Audit, a global study of loyalty in the mobile industry.

Apple & Samsung lead brand retention

Brand retention (customers who replace their smartphone with another from the same manufacturer) is led by Apple and Samsung.

WDS found that Apple retains 76 per cent of its customers, followed by Samsung (58 per cent).

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

“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,” explains Tim Deluca-Smith, Vice President of Marketing at WDS, a Xerox company.

“Both Apple and Samsung are doing very well in keeping customers excited and loyal to their product roadmaps.”

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. 2013)

Samsung – the switcher’s selection

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  per cent) of all switching customers moves to Samsung. Apple follows, attracting almost a quarter (24  per cent) 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,” explains Deluca-Smith.

“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 UK, USA, South Africa and Australia.

Additional Data:

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

Apple Samsung
16-24 78  per cent 51  per cent
25-34 72  per cent 58  per cent
35-44 71  per cent 59  per cent
45-60 85  per cent 61  per cent
61+ 83  per cent 61  per cent
Fig. 2 Brand retention by age (source: WDS)
Apple Samsung
16-24 35  per cent 26  per cent
25-34 34  per cent 35  per cent
35-44 27  per cent 35  per cent
45-60 14  per cent 35  per cent
61+ 18  per cent 34  per cent
Fig. 3 Share of migrating customers by age (source: WDS)

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

Apple Samsung
Prepaid 69  per cent 61  per cent
Postpaid 78  per cent 57  per cent
Fig. 4 Brand retention by contract type (source: WDS)
Apple Samsung
Prepaid 13  per cent 32  per cent
Postpaid 29  per cent 35  per cent
Fig. 5 Share of migrating customers by contract type (source: WDS)

About WDS

WDS, A Xerox Company, provides multi-channel knowledge management, care automation and analytics to help wireless brands deliver a more effective customer service experience and protect customer lifetime value. Driven by our Technology, Services and Consulting practices, it’s our ability to help our clients improve their responsiveness to customer service threats and design failure out of the customer service experience, that means many of the world’s most recognizable wireless brands now trust the outsourcing of their customer service experience to WDS.

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