iPhone Trumps Other Smartphones in User Satisfaction

A survey of smartphone users by technology research firm Yankee Group found that satisfaction remains highest among iPhone owners and that Apple is winning customers from other mobile platforms.

The survey was released last week, and was conducted before complaints surfaced about the iPhone's antenna reception issues. Apple recently addressed the reception issue by offering iPhone owners a free case designed to address to the reception problem.

Yankee Group analyst Carl Howe wrote that there is considerable interest in the iPhone among non-iPhone owners and that iPhone owners are for the most part loyal to the Apple device.

"Not only do 88 percent of iPhone owners intend to buy another smartphone, but 77 percent of iPhone owners intend to buy another Apple phone," he wrote in a blog post detailing his research.

Howe also noted that the iPhone market boasts strong demographics. The Yankee Group says iPhone users average 32 years of age with $100,000 of household income, compared with other smartphone users who average 34 years of age with $85,000 of household income. The average iPhone user spends the most time of any mobile user on the Internet, 37 minutes per day, and they conduct more transactions and commerce on their phone than any other phone owner.

He also found that about a third of smartphone owners of all types surveyed, who intend to buy a smartphone, intend to buy an iPhone. Among those groups, he found 23 percent of current BlackBerry owners plan to buy an Apple iPhone and 36 percent of Google-branded Android phone owners said they plan to buy an iPhone. Only 32 percent of users owning a Google-branded Android said they intend to buy another Android phone.

Setting the Record Straight on the Android Stats

The Android findings sparked some controversy, however, because some media failed to include the fact that the study only includes Google-branded handsets, prompting the author to address the issue in a blog post.

"You’ll note in the excerpt above, we were careful to say 'Google-branded Android phone owners.' That’s because our data keys on the manufacturer of the phone as the way to determine what type of phone a consumer owns. Because all non-Google Android brands make phones using other operating systems, Google-branded phones are the only ones we can be certain run Android. However, restricting ourselves to that category means that we leave out a big segment of Android owners, specifically those who own Motorola Droids and HTC EVOs among others. Clearly these owners may have differing future buying preferences, but our survey is unable to differentiate those Android phone owners from non-Android phones made by those manufacturers," Howe wrote in a Yankee Group blog post.

Despite the exclusion of popular handsets such as the Droid and the timing of the survey, Howe is confident that Android is on tap become a strong competitor in the mobile sector.

"Yankee Group still believes that Android will become the next breakout mobile phone platform, making it the third most popular platform behind iPhone and RIM's Blackberry in installed base for at least the next five years," Howe wrote.

The Yankee Group's survey comes from the results of talking to 3,425 respondents, and was done prior to the iPhone 4 launch.

"We believe all the trends we note in this report will continue after the iPhone 4 launch, perhaps with even greater strength. We won't, however, have objective data to measure the magnitude of those effects until later in 2010," wrote Howe.

The Yankee Group survey follows another recent survey of iPhone users by market research firm,IDC. In that survey, IDC found two-thirds of iPhone users were reluctant to upgrade to the new iPhone 4, but IDC also found that 74 percent of those surveyed who do not own an iPhone, but plan to buy one, said that they were not scared off by the antenna issue.

IDC's survey was released the day Apple announced the free bumper case for iPhone 4 owners.

Andy Patrizio is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


Android, Blackberry, iPhone, smartphone, Yankee Group