Mobile Marketing

Apple Brand Loyalty Declines in Favor of Android Devices

To its dedicated army of fanboys (and girls) Apple is more than a brand, it’s a bit of a cult. But a recent report by BankMyCell, the smartphone price comparison site, suggests the allure of the almighty iPhone is in decline.

According to the report, iPhone retention rates have fallen by 15% in 2019 with more than a quarter of iPhone X users switching to Android smartphones when users trade in their old devices. Meanwhile, only 7.7% of Android users are tempted to trade in their devices in favor of an iPhone. This is on the back of a 17% decline in iPhone sales in the first quarter of 2018 adding to Apple’s woes.

Further Reading: Smartphone Sales Slump – Has the Bubble Burst?

The biggest winner in this race for smartphone domination is Samsung, with more than 18% of iPhone owners who traded in their devices in June 2019 picking up one of their devices. Another 5.4% of Apple owners swapped their devices for an LG device and 2.2% for a Motorola handset.

Interestingly, the report suggests that 2.1% of smartphone owners didn’t know what brand device they were using, suggesting that for many users a smartphone has become a rather generic product where brand is not really important.

Why Is This Happening?

According to a BankMyCell spokesperson, Apple devices are just not that thrilling anymore, especially when they have become so expensive.

It’s not that the latest Apple devices are bad, it’s just that Android devices are now matching them in terms of quality and typically offer much better value for money.

This is a theory is supported by many industry experts.

Speaking to journalists, Arnold Ponela, a research analyst at IDC, said: “Apple is increasingly transforming itself into a luxury brand and consumers are increasingly turning to the array of Android devices.

“Apple has always played in the more affluent end of the market and its iPhones have always carried a premium price over competing smartphones with similar performance. Apple moved to revamp its device lineup by doubling its offering on thousand-dollar phones, and simultaneously dropping its least expensive models, which has made it clear the vendor is no longer concerned with appealing to customers of more limited means.”

Further Reading: The Rising Cost of Smartphones Creates a Burgeoning Second-Hand Market.

Quality Competition

While it’s fair to say that Apple products led the market in terms of innovation and quality since the inception of the iPhone in 2007, brands like Samsung, LG, Motorola, and more recently Huawei have really closed the gap.

The choice at the top end of the market in terms of screen size and quality, memory, and storage, and the all-important battery life means serious smartphone users no longer have to make compromises on device functionality if they wish to purchase a slightly lower-cost device.

As cutting-edge features have filtered down to the budget end of the smartphone market (where Apple is nowhere to be seen), Android devices have no competition.

Further Reading: BRICS: A Smart Future Built on Affordable Devices.

How Will The Affect The App Industry?

The signs for the Android app economy are incredibly positive.

As far back as 2017, industry insiders were noticing a seismic shift in the marketplace with Android devices closing the monetization gap with Apple. Games developers, in particular, were highlighting how larger, higher-quality screens and faster processing speeds were lifting their revenues.

Note: It’s still a long way from a level playing field yet. While Google Play now dominates the download market, accounting for more than 74% of downloads across all devices, consumers typically spend 80% more revenue on iOS devices. This is because Apple devices still hold significant market share in more mature economies like the United States while Android devices own the global market. While it might take longer for emerging markets like India and Brazil to catch up, due to their massive populations when this happens it will happen fast.

Further Reading: The Indian Smartphone Market – Already Big but with Plenty of Room for Growth.

Further Reading: Brazil: The App Economy is About to Explode.

Breaking Free from Apple’s Walled Garden

While it would be foolish to ignore the revenue-generating opportunities presented by both the Apple App Store and Google Play, it would also be unwise to not talk about the cost of acquiring new app users through these channels — 30% of any revenues generated over the lifetime of an app.

If you want your app on an Apple device there is no avoiding Apple’s fees. However, there are alternative routes to market on an Android device as famously explored by the Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite.

Further Reading: Will Epic Games Change The Way Smartphone Users Download Apps?

For organizations who perhaps don’t have the marketing and PR clout afforded by the world’s most popular game (even before it reached the Android platform), it is still possible to cut the Google Play Store out of the equation, reducing acquisition costs and maximizing activations and revenue earning potential.

Digital Turbine can help you dramatically increase engagement with your apps via a strategy of pre-loading (targeting specific devices, geographic areas, etc.) and SingleTap™ installs — essentially helping you put your app in front of the right person at the right time.

Further Reading: Top Game Developer Enjoys 7x Lift in Conversion Rates with SingleTap™ Installs.

To learn more about how Digital Turbine can help you reach more people and make more money via the Android app eco-system, talk to one of our app marketing experts today.