Survey says: What phones Apple and Samsung buyers used last

Survey says: What phones Apple and Samsung buyers used last

Summary: iPhone buyers are richer, better-educated and more brand-loyal than Samsung buyers. Samsung buyers are newer to this "smartphone" thing.


A new study by CIRP (Consumer Intelligence Research Partners) examines what phones Samsung and Apple buyers used previously and also lists some demographic information about them.

The study is based on four quarterly CIRP surveys of smartphone buyers form July 2012 to June 2013. Each survey had 500 subjects who had purchased a mobile phone in the previous 90 days.

The survey produced quite a bit of data about the buyer's previous phone. In this first chart below ("Previous brand, buyers switched brands"), we can see that far more iPhone buyers who switched brands did so from Samsung than vice-versa.


The next chart, which looks at the previous brand for all buyers, shows that brand loyalty is not significantly greater for Apple buyers than Samsung buyers, even if Apple is drawing in more Samsung buyers than the other way around. This may be because of an overall larger number of Samsung owners, many of whom own a non-smart feature phone. Samsung is drawing far more buyers from the smaller brands than is Apple.


It's clear from the data that a far higher percentage of first-time smartphone buyers and those who previously owned a basic/feature phone select Samsung over Apple. It's also likely, because of cost issues, that a higher percentage of that same population buy other Android brands rather than iOS, so the difference may be even greater.

The final chart, which shows the mobile carrier buyers choose, reinforces the conventional wisdom that Apple users are used to paying more. A whopping 47% of iPhone buyers activate their phones on AT&T, and over 30% more on Verizon. The two big providers total up only 50% for Samsung buyers, who are more likely to go with Sprint, much more likely to go with T-Mobile and far more likely to go with a smaller, unnamed provider.


Other survey results indicate that:

  • Far more buyers get their phone from their mobile carrier than from any other outlet
  • The large majority of buyers appear to buy new smartphones at or near the end of their contract
  • Buyers who had a basic phone had kept their phone much longer than buyers who had a smartphone
  • Mac owners are more likely to buy an iPhone, PC owners are more likely to buy Samsung
  • iPhone buyers are slightly younger than Samsung buyers, have higher incomes and higher levels of education.

Topics: Mobile OS, Android, Apple, Mobility

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  • More media trickery

    "...far more iPhone buyers who switched brands did so from Samsung than vice-versa."


    The charts use percentages of buyers instead of actual numbers. That creates the illusion that you're dealing with the same number of smartphone buyers when in fact you're not. Samsung sells several times more smartphones than Apple does, so 1% of Samsung smartphone buyers is actually a number that is at least 3X bigger than 1% of iPhone buyers.
    • Any Intelligent person does their homework

      IOs has had four security issues in the past few weeks. The latest being Jekyll App, which basically opens the flood gates for malware and virus attacks to Apple's wall garden.

      Apple's Developers network has been breached. That's a fact.

      Third party chargers can infect any IOs phone. That is a fact.

      Given that your only defense on IOs, is what Apple does, any mistake or lack of foresight on their part will expose all its users to many headaches, intrinsically makes IOs a riskier option-

      Smart people would think twice in considering IOs. That's just facts.

      And then there is market share and IOs keeps declining, its just a manner of time before it becomes irrelevant. It happened to Nokia and Ericsson, Motorola, Sony.

      Currently IOs and MS are both undergoing the same pattern, not texting in time or reacting with the wrong solutions ends with their market share. MS has been unable to buck this trend. Apple has only been able to mitigate it. Until they actually solve it, I would not trust them to be relevant in the future. This is no different then when Nokia accepted windows as its OS, it was obvious that they would lose all market share.
      • And you

        Wonder what you relevancy will be in that same time frame. Don't really care....but why do you care so much that what Apple's will be? You remind me of all the blind MS fans back when MS brought out W95....lining up and sprouting how hardware commoditization was a good thing.....but then thd OEM's ran out of money because of razor thin margins and could no longer innovate. I suspect Apple will weather the storm and be one of the few with any money left for meaningful innovation.
  • More media trickery

    "...far more iPhone buyers who switched brands did so from Samsung than vice-versa."


    The charts use percentages of buyers instead of actual numbers. That creates the illusion that you're dealing with the same number of smartphone buyers when in fact you're not. Samsung sells several times more smartphones than Apple does, so 1% of Samsung smartphone buyers is actually a number that is at least 3X bigger than 1% of iPhone buyers.
    • Talkback Trickery!

      How many of the more phones that Samsung sells are for people staying on Samsung? You do not say and yet that is key to your assertion!

      Semi-kidding there.

      The article was clear about what was being measured and the methodology, 500 US recent cell phone buyers. You do have a point, by losing counts, there's an implication regarding magnitude that would be deceptive, but no more than whenever any one compares percentages with different sample sizes.

      It's a good note to make and it doesn't invalidate the above reporting. It only serves to help the reader seeking an understanding of what's happening today understand the constraints for a conclusion. Obviously, Apple, in order to show sales growth, has to pick up customers from some other maker. As Samsung's domination increases, Apple's share of folks who came from Samsung will have to increase. In many respects the dominant factor behind what phone got replaced was the share numbers of two years ago, making this a trailing, not leading, indicator. Two years ago, when the prior phone was acquired, Apple was in month 7 of its Verizon launch and in year 5 of being offered by AT&T.

      In other words, quite complex. My conclusion is that Samsung did a great job of picking up Android and Symbian users who had old phones. However, as long as Apple and Samsung continue with sales growth, who can be unhappy, except folks who want to feed their bias confirmation monsters.
  • Last phone....

    I switched from iPhone4 to HTC DNA. I won't go back. Not only is the DNA superior the iPhone, but Android is much more robust than iOS.
    • Android a more "robust" OS ??

      Yeah ... you use anything non Android before ..... NOT!

      Anybody claiming that Android is "robust" has never use ANYTHING (not just an iOS device) before his life. Even crapware OSs are more robust and stable than Android.
      • Re: Anybody claiming that Android is "robust"

        I would also claim Android is robust.

        Want to make something of it, kid?
        • Actually reports are dubious

          Some say android crashes more, others say it's android.
          Malware seems to be in 80% of android phones if we believe in all security company reports :-P
          Windows phone seems to be the more stable.
          I doubt robustness - software - must be in the top 10 list of things to consider before getting a smartphone
          • Re: Some say android crashes more

            I've had maybe 3 crashes total in the 2½ years I've been using Android.
  • Phone I used last

    iphone 4.

    It was a good phone at the time. I don't regret buying it.

    When it came time to buy a new phone, I looked at the iphone 5. I looked at the Samsung Galaxy 3. I looked at the Nokia Lumia 920. 2 of those phones looked great. One of them was no better than the iphone 4 I already had. That would be the iphone 5.

    apple stagnated. They had me as a customer. Sure, my ipad 2 was a disaster and left me with a bad taste in my mouth for apple. I was annoyed that apple lied to me but had apple released a good successor to the iphone 4, I would have stuck with apple. I had apple peripherals although not one of them would work with the iphone 5. I had in the low hundreds of dollars of ios apps. But the iphone 5 is just such a huge disappointement that I couldn't punish myself by buying it. Too bad apple stagnated so much but clearly apple thought they had an insurmountable lead and just rested on their laurels.

    Fortunately for consumers like me, the competition didn't. Samsung gets huge kudos for innovating, for not standing still while apple simply copied what the others were doing. Nokia and Microsoft too get huge kudos for taking a look at everything that was wrong with mobile phones (specifically ios) and fixing it. And boy, did they ever fix it well. The Samsung Galaxy 3 looks to be a fantastic phone but it just couldn't compare with the Nokia Lumia 920.

    So I switched. I am a switcher. I dumped apple and switched to Microsoft. And I couldn't be happier. This Nokia Lumia 920 is the perfect successor to the iphone 4.

    apple, I gave you all the chances in the world. I was your customer to lose. The money in my wallet was yours to keep. You blew it. You got overconfident. You misjudged my willingness to buy an inferior product from you just because I was happy with the previous product I'd purchased from you.

    I am NOT a loyal customer and I'm very proud to say so. Loyalty to a corporation is NOT something to be proud of, no matter what the apple marketing department tries to tell you.

    I buy what is best, when it is best. I bought a Nokia Lumia 920 and I would recommend a Nokia Lumia for anyone, whether they were looking for an inexpensive phone (Lumia 52X) or top of the line (Lumia 92X) or the very best, ultimate cameraphone ever created (Lumia 1020).

    Kudos Google (even though you aren't being nice with YouTube).

    Kudos Samsung for being so innovative while apple steals everything it can from you.

    Kudos Microsoft for taking a fresh look at what mobile OSs should be and fixing the major problems that exist in ios. Double kudos because now apple has admitted Microsoft was right and is copying Windows Phone in ios7.

    Kudos Nokia for setting out to build the best hardware possible at each price point and succeeding.
    • Almost had me

      I started reading you comment...but it slowly revealed itself as a biased piece of troll I skipped to the bottom to see what fool wrote it....surprise surprise....just as I suspected.
      Enjoy your phone whatever you end up with.
      • hehe

        Seriously I did the same thing. I was reading the piece with interest until it slowly turns to trolling & rant. Scroll down & and saw the name. Our resident anti Apple troll.
    • Google has rights

      TB, I actually agree with most of what you say, but in terms of Google not being nice? Microsoft went outside the terms of service for YouTube and are simply paying the price.

      Flipside of the coin.

      Google killed activesync for GMail users yet left in intact for paying Apps users. Microsoft decided to kill Contact and Calendar synching with it's mail client on RT for everyone. There's no other options to get this functionality back, so now my Windows RT device has lost at least 50% of it's usefulness for me.

      Who's not being fair? Tit for tat unfortunately and as always the end consumer loses.
      • Good to see

        Great in wonderfully it is to see these two high volume low margin corporations having to duke it out for mindshare and market share. Apple will happily sit back and this fight.
    • Re: I am a switcher.

      Good self-diagnosis, Toddy.
  • what I'm most surprised about

    is how many people are switching to both Samsung & Apple from LG. I'm not so surprised they're leaving LG, but I'm surprised that many people bought LG products in the first place.

    the G2 looks like a decent phone though. but they need to keep up a good track record for a few years before I'll be convinced they're good.
    • here's a suggestion for you, right in the article

      "many of whom own a non-smart feature phone"
  • Last Phoned I used was a Joke....

    And that joke was no less than a Nokia Windows Phone couldn't get rid of it quick enough.

    Now I have an iPhone 5 a smartphone that makes sense and is pure quality.
    • Hahahaha!

      Yeah, thanks for the good laugh, your lies are horrible.