Market researchers produce tons of statistics, and quite often come up with conflicting results. But in the battle between Android and iPhone, which handset is winning the hearts and minds of owners?
There's plenty of data to chew on. For example, an NPD study showed that Google's Android was comfortably beating iPhone, with Q1 2010 unit sales of 28% against 21%. This data was enough to prompt Apple, a company that is usually tight-lipped in the face of any study to piece of market research, to dispute the numbers.
Then came a Gartner study that showed that Android was closing the gap on the iPhone in terms of market share, but still had a way to go, with 9.6% global market share for Google versus 15.4% for Apple.
Now Nielsen enters the fray, claiming that the iPhone has three times the operating system market compared to Android, with Apple holding 28% compared to Google's 9%. The Nielsen study goes on to say that 80% of iPhone owners plan on buying another iPhone (with only 7% planning a switch to Android), compared to Android which sees 70% of customers planning to re-buy an Android handset and 14% eyeing an iPhone.
Another interesting aspect of the Nielsen study was income levels of handset owners. According to the study around 40% of iPhone users earn over $100,000, while only 28% of Android users earn that much. On the flipside, 36% of Android users earn less than $50,000, while only 18% of iPhone users earn below that level.
What does all this mean? Well, I think the take away is that it's hard to pin down the smartphone market. I'm tempted to feel that the initial NPD study that put Android ahead of iPhone was flawed and that while Android is catching up with iPhone, it's not overtaken it ... yet.