Survey: iPhone Users Find It Too Darn Hard to Switch

Have you ever tried talking your Apple-loving buddy into getting an Android smartphone or a Windows Phone 7 device? You'd have a better chance of selling ice to an Eskimo, a point that's underscored in a new international survey conducted by the GfK Group. According to the survey, nearly one in five consumers who own both an iPad and an iPhone believe that it's more difficult to switch smartphones than it is to change bank accounts, gas companies, or electric providers.

This feeling of brand loyalty grows as the number of installed apps increases, and it applies to all ecosystems, not just Apple's.

"As consumers build digital ecosystems and their own world of content on handsets, the study shows that their loyalty to their smartphone brand increases with the number of apps and services they use. The research reveals that the tipping point for loyalty is when a consumer uses seven or more services on their device," GfK Group says.

Familiarity also plays a big role. Some 72 percent of respondents said they find it easy to access their device's applications and navigate the menu system, which makes the prospect of switching platforms a sometimes daunting one.

The report points states the primary barriers to switching relate directly to user experience:  (source: GfK Group)
  • 33% - of respondents cited disrupting their current smartphone set-up (i.e. the apps and features I use)
  • 29% - having to learn how to use another type of smartphone
  • 28% - having to move their  content (music, video, books, apps) from one type of smartphone to another
"As smartphones become more advanced, creating a smooth and high quality user experience is a complex task, but despite this, 71 percent of smartphone customers believe the services and features on their devices work seamlessly with each other," GfK Group says. "The more services a consumer uses on a device, the more tightly integrated they feel the features and functions are, indicating that well executed service and hardware integration are having a positive effect on consumer loyalty."

Would you be willing to switch platforms when your smartphone contract expires, or will you stick with the same ecosystem?