In a survey of 16,000 U.S. smartphone users, the company found 91 percent of iPhone owners plan to purchase another iPhone when it's time to upgrade, while for Android the number is just 76 percent. And, three quarters of those looking to switch from Android plan to buy an iPhone.
Yankee Group believes the incredible customer loyalty that Apple holds will drive market share gains well into the future. The firm predicts that, if these loyalty numbers hold, Apple will surpass Android in U.S. market share by 2015.
Think of the Apple and Android ecosystems as two buckets of water. New smartphone buyers — mostly upgrading feature phone owners — fall like rain into the two big buckets about equally, with a smaller number falling into Windows Phone and BlackBerry buckets. However, the Android bucket leaks badly, losing about one in five of all the owners put into it. The Apple bucket leaks only about 7 percent of its contents, so it retains more of the customers that fall into it. The Apple bucket will fill up faster and higher than the Android one, regardless of the fact that the Apple bucket may have had fewer owners in it to begin with.
The iPhone has traditionally demonstrated strong platform loyalty, and Tim Cook has played up both Apple's ecosystem of interconnected devices and apps, and the iPhone's "halo effect" as significant strengths for the company in recent earnings calls.