Survey says: What phones Apple and Samsung buyers used last

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.