Loyalty threat to handset manufacturers

Phone manufacturers have had a wake up call on brand loyalty as the latest figures show that consumers are increasingly choosing phones because of their operating system (OS), rather than handset brand.

In new research from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, 57% of all phones bought in the 12 weeks to 20 March 2011 were smartphones, compared with only 31% in 2010. As a result, the firm concluded that consumers are learning more about OS as part of the decision making process in buying a new phone.

Fiona Keenan, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, explained: “Although some consumers still need educating about operating systems awareness is growing and this is starting to influence consumers’ purchasing decisions. Altogether, 12% of smartphone owners claim they will choose their next handset solely based on its OS, and a further 44% say it will play a part, demonstrating loyalty is starting to shift towards OS providers.

“This will be a big challenge for handset manufacturers, who will need to find a way of connecting further with their customers or alternatively working more directly with OS providers to offer consumers something that differentiates them from their competitors in the handset world.”

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