Are iPhone Owners Becoming Less Loyal?

Seems that some of the shine might be wearing off the apple of Apple’s eye—the iPhone. Last year roughly 90% (93% of U.S., 88% of W. Europeans) of iPhone owners said they’d buy an iPhone again. Now? it’s 88-75% (88% U.S., 75% W. Europe). Is this a big problem for Apple or just a blip?

Paul Brown of Strategy Analytics said this about the survey:

“There is no doubt that Apple is continuing its success in retaining existing user base while attracting new customers,” commented Paul Brown, Director at Strategy Analytics’ User Experience Practice. “However, negative press prompted by a perceived lack of recent innovation by Apple has meant we are starting to see some growth in the number of previously highly loyal consumers who are now reconsidering whether or not they will purchase a new iPhone for their next device.” Via: Strategy Analytics: Apple iPhone Owner Loyalty Declines | Business Wire,

Okay, there is solid competition. That’s good. Yeah, Apple hasn’t pushed the boundaries of coolness since the iPhone 4 (that was my first iPhone, btw). The iPhone 5 (my wife scooped one up early, I’m getting one soon), yeah it’s a nice iteration or evolution of the iPhone 4, but it’s not a huge change.

Photo from Flickr by Lara604

Point: Competitors.

CNET pulled these data from the study:

The firm’s study found that only 88 percent of U.S. iPhone owners are likely to buy another Apple smartphone, down from 93 percent in 2011. In Western Europe, the total is 75 percent, down from 88 percent last year. Via: iPhone users get less loyal | Apple – CNET News

Which, you know, 88% and 75% are awesome numbers, really. I don’t think car makers enjoy that kind of widespread loyalty. The thing that I wonder about iPhone retention is this—is it all about the apps?

In my case it is certainly mostly about the apps. I love my iPhone and iPad (I don’t think my iPod nano even has juice in it). I love how they both work with my Mac and how many of the apps work so well together. That said, if I decided to switch to Android, ouch. I’d be giving up hundreds of dollars of apps. Maybe I don’t need to buy all of them again. Maybe there are a lot of free options on Android that would suffice, but I’d still wind up buying a bunch of apps and that keeps me very loyal to Apple.

That, however, isn’t a good thing to rely on. New apps can be purchased and it wouldn’t take much for retailers/manufacturers to start giving rebates or app credits or something akin to lure iOS loyalists to their side. Expensive, yes. Daring, certainly. Possible, oh heck yeah.

To regain its foothold on awesomeness, Apple needs to step up their game. Which, again, points squarely at the changes Tim Cook made yesterday. Get a team that can and will work well together. Get a team that will share your vision and passion and make it happen.

That’s what will bring Apple fans back into the fold and keep us loyal for years to come, because we all know that it won’t be too long before the must have device doesn’t come from Apple. It’s only a matter of time.

Update: Just checking my updated feeds and found via The Loop that Kantar Worldpanel ComTech says the iPhone 5 has slowed Android growth rates—iPhone 5 release slows Android gains. Hmm, so fewer iPhone owners are loyal, but there just more of them!