New smartphone shoppers want Apple over Android

Faith Merino · July 18, 2011 · Short URL:

Apple and Android continue to duel for the fickle hearts of new smartphone shoppers

And then there were two.  The battle for new smartphone buyers has come down to an Old West-style duel between Apple and Google, mano a mano.  With RIM safely out of the way, Apple and Google can go back to focusing their energy on pulverizing the competition, and customer preference is cutting pretty close.  A study released Monday by Changewave Research shows that new smartphone customers prefer iOS over Android—which directly contradicts a Nielsen study released back in April showing new smartphone customers prefer Android over iOS. 

The new study by Changewave focuses almost exclusively on North America and finds 46% of respondents who said they have plans to buy a new smartphone in the next 90 days say that they would prefer an iOS device, which is an increase of two percentage points since March.  By comparison, 32% of those planning to buy a new smartphone in the next 90 days say they would rather have an Android device.  

Those who plan to buy a Blackberry have dropped to 4%, the lowest demand RIM has ever seen in Changewave’s surveys. 

The study has some interesting implications for Android and Apple, which have both been fighting for domination of the smartphone OS market.  Earlier this year, Android was looking like the clear winner in capturing the hearts of prospective smartphone buyers.  A study released by Nielsen back in April showed that 31% of people who planned to buy a new smartphone preferred Android, compared to 30% of those who preferred Apple.  The same survey found that a full 50% of respondents who indicated that they had purchased a smartphone in the past 6 months said they bought an Android device, compared to 25% who said they purchased an iPhone.  A similar Nielsen study in October had the same findings: more respondents had purchased an Android device in the past 6 months than Apple or RIM.

And poor RIM continues to flounder.  When Nielsen conducted its survey in October, RIM was still at the top of the smartphone market with a 31% market share.  In the April survey, only 11% of respondents said they planned to buy a Blackberry.  Now, three months later, Blackberry preference in the Changewave survey is down to just 4%.

Interestingly, when it comes down to user satisfaction, 70% of iOS customers said they’re “very satisfied” with their mobile OS, compared to just 50% of Android customers.   

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