Android fans “more loyal than iOS users”, study claims – but we’re extremely dubious
In the battle between Android and iOS fanboys, new research suggests the former is more loyal than the latter. In a report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), Android users have a supposed “loyalty rate” of 91%, compared to 86% of Apple owners who stick with the iOS devices.
But hold your horses, because while it’s true the data shows this, it doesn’t even finish the first chapter of the full story.
CIRP found that since January 2016, 89-91% of Android users have stuck with Google’s operating system, compared to 85-88% of iOS users. Ignoring the fact that both those figures are approval ratings, which at the least can be viewed as a little suspect, there is a couple of reasons to view this as barely worthy of note.
First up, let’s count the phones. iOS is currently sold on eight handsets: the iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus and the iPhone SE. By contrast, Android has many more. I’m not going to list every Android handset, because I want to leave the office before midnight, but suffice it to say that with Android being the platform of choice for Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG, Huawei, Honor, ZTE, Google, Nokia, BlackBerry, Razer, Acer, Asus, Motorola, Lenovo and more, there are multiple times more Android devices than run iOS. As a result, someone switching from HTC to Samsung, say, would not register as disloyal because they’ve stuck with Android.
That’s a bit silly, given the diversity of handsets and Android skins out there. Each one can feel vastly different from each other, and it’s questionable how much the operating system even comes into the heads of the majority of buyers (readers of Alphr excused, obviously).
But even if we assume each consumer is showing an informed preference for Android, then so what? That doesn’t demonstrate loyalty so much as a complete absence of options. The graph above actually demonstrates a far better point that it sets out to do: the last time iOS and Android were sub 85%, there were more options available. In March 2014, you could buy Nokia phones running Windows; you could buy keyboard-heavy handsets running BlackBerry 10. If you were a total masochist, you could even buy an Ubuntu phone. People didn’t really, even then, but that’s not the point. The point is that in 2014, loyalty was a metric worth measuring.
In our iOS/Android duopoly, loyalty without choice isn’t loyalty. It’s an inevitability. The people in this study may be extremely loyal for all I, or CIRP know. This research just doesn’t answer the question either way.
For balance, however, this is how CIRP interprets the data: “Over time, Android loyalty gradually increased, as it achieved parity in availability of apps, music and video, and as the user experience on the two platforms became more similar,” said Josh Lowitz, partner and co-founder of CIRP. “Android users also benefit from a wide range of phones from different manufacturers, so they can switch hardware without learning a new operating system.”
Doesn’t sound very loyal, but what do I know?