Activation of iOS and Android devices is now evenly distributed in the US, with little sign of moving towards any of the platforms that have dominated the last two years, according to data obtained from Consumer Research Intelligence Partners (CIRP).
CIRP estimates that iOS and Android each had 50 percent of new smartphone activations in the year ending this quarter. IOS ‘share of new smartphone activations climbed from 2017 to 2020, but has now remained at the top level for the second year in a row.
CIRP partner and co-founder Josh Lowitz said the finding is significant because Android smartphones for several years “had a significant advantage, with over 60 percent of customers choosing an Android phone in most quarters. In the last couple of years, though, iOS has closed the gap, and now shares the market with Android. ”
Both Android and iOS users have historically had a high level of loyalty. Android loyalty has varied very little, in a narrow range of 90 to 93 percent over the past four years. iOS loyalty, on the other hand, has gradually increased over the past four years, from a low level of 86 percent in early 2018 to 93 percent in the last quarter ending in June 2021.
Loyalty and the tendency to change platform may explain some of the change in the share of new smartphone activations, where iOS has gained loyalty in a market with a limited amount of change. CIRP partner Mike Levin explained:
In the last quarter, Apple had an advantage in loyalty, with 93 percent of previous iPhone owners upgrading to a new iPhone, compared to 88 percent of Android owners who lived with Android. Over the years, iOS gained about five percentage points in loyalty, while Android remained flat. This allowed Apple to steadily increase the iOS share of new smartphone activations.
CIRP’s latest data was based on a survey of 500 American subjects that activated a new or used smartphone in the period April to June this year. Given the small sample size, there is certainly a certain margin of error for these figures, but the data provide a reliable look at activations and loyalty over time as it uses the same survey every quarter.