June 27, 2022
As part of its market study into mobile ecosystems, the CMA commissioned consumer research into the UK smartphone market. The research, which was delivered by the research agency Accent, was intended to develop a more in depth understanding of purchasing behaviour in the UK smartphone market, with a particular focus on switching behaviour between smartphone brands and operating systems. The research methodology comprised a large-scale quantitative survey supported by qualitative interviews with marginal users, who were defined as those that had considered switching operating system but chose not to.
Key findings include:
- For Apple users, the most mentioned factor in the decision to purchase the smartphone was brand (66%) with screen size and quality next (47%);
- For Android users, the most mentioned factor in the decision to purchase the smartphone was screen size and quality (56%), closely followed by overall price (54%), camera (51%) and battery life (50%);
- App-related factors were the least mentioned factors for both Apple and Android users;
- A third got a new device in the last year; satisfaction was high with the new device (highest for Apple’s iPhones and Samsung’s phones) and marginal users were relatively dissatisfied with their current device: 90% of iOS users’ previous phones were iPhones (8% an Android phone, 1% a new phone purchaser) and 91% of Android users’ previous phones were an Android phone (5% an Apple iPhone, 3% a new phone purchaser, 1% don’t know);
- Other products used: 83% of iOS users have at least one other Apple product; 75% of Android users only have non-iOS products;
- Marginal users: 11% of Apple and 12% of Android non-switchers considered switching – only a small proportion considered it very seriously (13% of marginal iOS users and 17% of Android marginal users); the most frequently mentioned reason for not switching OS provided by iOS users who did not switch was “because I had other devices linked to my phone/OS” (51%) compared to 25% of equivalent Android users; 64% of marginal users and 69% of non-considerers mentioned at least one barrier to switching when asked why they did not switch OS for their most recent smartphone purchase; app-related barriers were relatively unimportant;
- Switchers: 8% of iOS users switched from Android and 5% of Android phone users switched from iOS; Android to Apple switched because of better OS, higher quality brand and friends/family have iOS; Apple to Android switched because of value for money; there were high satisfaction ratings with the switching experience for those who did switch, but 35% of switchers were dissatisfied with at least one element of the switching journey; satisfaction levels were high for most aspects of switching although there was some dissatisfaction with transferring data and music;
- Mobile apps behaviour and attitudes: 96% of iOS users use the Apple App Store; 92% of Android users use the Google Play Store and 30% use alternative Android app stores (but 36% when considering sideloading); 90% of Android users used the Google Play Store as their main way of accessing apps on their smartphone; 8% of iOS users and 6% of Android users used web apps; and
- Mobile apps means of payment: 76% who spent money on their gaming apps on their smartphone in the last 12 months only spent this in the app on their phone/tablet; 51% who spent money on their entertainment/TV apps on their smartphone in the last 12 months only spent this in the app on their phone/tablet; 82% who spent money on their music apps on their smartphone in the last 12 months only spent this in the app on their phone/tablet.
To access the full report, click here.