Big problem for Apple: False claim that majority of iPhone users ‘admit to blind loyalty’

“iSheep. That’s the retort most readily used to attack owners of Apple kit. It is a wonderfully concise allegation: the thoughtless herd mentality Apple cynics attribute to those happy to spend small fortunes on Macs, MacBooks, iPhones and iPads,” Gordon Kelly writes for Forbes. “As part of ongoing research into mobile phone purchasing decisions polled 2,275 iPhone owners and found a staggering 59% admitted ‘blind loyalty’ to the handset. The definition was this was users who stated they would not even consider researching other handsets when upgrading in future. Asked why 78% they ‘couldn’t imagine having a different type of phone now’ while 52% said they were just ‘really impressed’ with their iPhone.”

“According to figures this month from Asymco, Apple has taken 62% of the smartphone industry’s $216BN net operating profits over the last six years. As a measure of this dominance Samsung was second with 26%. In keeping iOS as a closed platform Apple also maintains a stranglehold on its App Store, minimises malware and ensures owners get the latest software upgrades immediately. In such a scenario why would you look elsewhere? And yet dig deeper and there are clouds on the horizon,” Kelly writes. “Dig into simonlycontracts’ seemingly impervious ‘blind loyalty’ research and cracks also start to appear. Asked ‘What mobile phone did you own before your current iPhone?’ the majority, 54%, unsurprisingly had another iPhone but a further 31% came from fading brands BlackBerry (17%) and Nokia (14%). That’s just 15% moving from more competitive brands.”

“Crucially first time smartphone buyers are also picking Android – understandably due to price. Previously a poor user experience from these cheap handsets would usher them to Apple sooner or later. Now with Android better suited to low spec hardware and commodisation of smartphones seeing powerful handsets available at bargain prices starting with Android could well shift from a cautionary tale to powerful gateway drug,” Kelly writes. “At that point blind loyalty would be almost impossible. Even for self-confessed iSheep.”

Full article – Think Before You Click™here.

MacDailyNews Take: We covered that poll. The “blind loyalty” did not come from the polling question, it came only from a quote that founder Roshan Bholah gave to The Telegraph: “It’s really interesting to discover this blind loyalty amongst iPhone users – they’ll no longer consider other mobile phones on the market, purely because they trust Apple and perhaps like being associated with the brand.” In fact, 78% of the 2,000 polled said only that they “couldn’t imagine having a different type of phone now.”

Hence, no iPhone users (0%) “admitted to blind loyalty.”

Apple product users’ loyalty is anything but “blind,” thanks. We are loyal to Apple products because of the myriad superior experiences they offer over inferior knockoffs.

Fact: Apple’ iPhone is even #1 in customer satisfaction in South Korea. Gordo, do you really think the citizens of a country that’s derisively called “The Republic of Samsung” haven’t already tried and rejected Samsung’s iPhone knockoffs? Come on, get real.

Customer satisfaction breeds clear-eyed loyalty. Customers are not created equal; the type of customers where Android makes gains, Apple doesn’t want. Collecting a bunch of crap customers via BOGOF offers isn’t the same as owning the premium market, as Apple already does.

Furthermore, more people are switching from Android to iPhone than vice versa (see below), regardless of the baseless FUD that Kelly attempts to propagate.

This is why iOS will overtake Android in the U.S. in short order, as predicted some time ago by none other than the highly-respected Yankee Group analyst Carl Howe.

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.Yankee Group VP Carl Howe

Related articles:
78% of UK iPhone owners ‘couldn’t imagine having a different type of phone now’ – February 13, 2014
iPhone dominates Android in smartphone loyalty – August 23, 2013
Apple’s iTunes Store tops Netflix, Amazon, HBO GO, Hulu Plus in customer satisfaction – August 6, 2013
Apple iPhone No. 1 in customer satisfaction in South Korea – July 2, 2013
Yankee Group: iPhone ownership in the U.S. will top Android by 2015 – April 26, 2013
Yankee Group: Apple continues to eat Samsung’s lunch; customer loyalty will drive iPhone ownership past Android’s peak – April 26, 2013
Apple’s iPhone user gains again out-pace Android in the U.S. – April 5, 2013
Survey: iPhone dominates in customer satisfaction – April 19, 2013
Raymond James: Survey shows higher iPhone customer loyalty, greater upgrade frequency vs. Android – April 8, 2013
Apple increases lead over Samsung, gains on Google’s Android in U.S. smartphone market share – April 4, 2013
Analyst: Apple iPhone 5 got over 5X times as many tweets as Samsung’s lackluster Galaxy S4 – March 27, 2013
J.D. Power: Apple ranks highest in smartphone customer satisfaction for 9th consecutive time – March 21, 2013
Yankee Group: Apple to gain additional U.S. smartphone share over Samsung in 2013 – March 20, 2013
With 78% share, Apple’s iOS tightening its grip on the enterprise and taking share from Android – March 8, 2013
Apple rules the skies with 84% in-flight share vs. Android’s 16% – March 7, 2013
comScore: Google’s Android, Samsung continue to lose U.S. share to Apple’s iOS, iPhone – March 6, 2013
Apple dominates smartphone OS satisfaction survey – January 18, 2013


  1. So called blind loyalty is surely only a problem if people stop being blindly loyal AND if they then decide to go somewhere else after looking at alternatives. There are a lot of assumptions there. Just because something could happen doesn’t mean it will. Even if they did move, the whole idea ignores all the people coming the other way.

    1. @mxnt41 – – agreed, although it is really more than that: this “Survey” is trying to use one set of data to make claims on two very different questions … and then they ignore the relevant part of the competition.


      * The ‘blind loyalty’ is addressing the “What will your NEXT phone be?” type of question.

      * The stats (57%-31%-15%) is “Where did you come FROM?”.

      And that last number – – 15% of successful conquests from _strong_ competitors represents the size of the hole in Samsung’s bucket that’s going to Apple.

      Which means that the missing number is the number of Apple defections to Samsung. Until that number is known, we don’t have all of the data necessary to know who is Winning/Losing.

      As per the above, Carl Howe suggests that Apple’s loss rate is ~7%, which verus Apple’s +15% gain vs serious compeition quite clearly suggests that Apple is winning at a 2:1 ratio over their most serious competition.


      1. The author of the story claims the questionnaire included the following questions:


        1. What version of the iPhone do you currently own?
        2. What mobile phone did you own before your current iPhone?
        3. If your previous handset was also an iPhone, why did you stick with Apple when choosing a new mobile phone?
        4. Would you research other handset options when upgrading in future, or are you now blindly loyal to the iPhone?
        5. If you do have ‘blind loyalty’ to the iPhone, why do you think this is the case?

        Do you notice the “push” nature of Questions 4 & 5? Question 4 is of the “When did you stop beating your wife?” type of question that by merely answering it that you did NOT consider another brand makes you a “blindly loyal Apple iPhone user!” There is no way to answer such “begging the question” type questions that have already assumed your response.

        Note also that the “reasons” that the now defined “blindly loyal” Apple iPhone users gave for selecting their phones in response to Question 5 somehow total to greater than 100% implying the responses were a multiple choice check box of the “check as many ‘canned’ responses as we’ve prewritten for you to choose that might apply”, which FURTHER implies that the reasons the iPhone choosers were anything BUT blind in their choice!

        1. Ridiculous “questions”!

          Let’s change just a very little. Still push questions and still invalid for a worthwhile survey, but less obnoxious…
          4. Would you research other handset options when upgrading in future, or are you now enthusiastically loyal to the iPhone?
          5. If you do have ‘enthusiastic loyalty’ to the iPhone, why do you think this is the case?

          1. I agree your wording doesn’t have the biased emotional loading found in the previous “push” questions. . . certainly not as obnoxiously anti-Apple.

        2. Thanks for this clarification.

          In looking at Q4 & Q5 as you point out, these certainly are poorly worded questions – – I can state with confidence that had this survey been proposed here, it would NOT get past Scientific Review to even then get considered by the full Board.

          Nevertheless, the survey was done, despite this clear bias, and the implications of this are that the phrasing likely resulted in a bias (low) on Q4 – – which appears to have been likely that the net effect is that it may have increased the conquest rate gaps.


  2. Interesting take. In the UK it’s hard not to notice what other manufacturers are doing, since every mobile phone shop is aggressively pushing Android handsets. That 59% of iPhone users wouldn’t even consider another brand of phone even taking this level of marketing into account is a positive for Apple surely. I know I see and play with phones from all the majors, and although the waterproof Sonys look tempting for someone like me who spends a lot of time on, around or under water there’s still nothing that will tempt me to give up my iPhone and jump to another platform. That attitude shouldn’t count as blind loyalty, yet those that still try and push the “Apple cult” idea would have you believe it to be.

    1. In the UK it’s hard not to notice, they don’t make anything but trouble in the press for American companies.

      They’re hypercritical about imported American products and yet I can’t think of a single British company who makes anything I want, or need.

      Hey England, need a curried spice? Take India!

          1. Never disputed that, but ARM are and always were a British company, which sort of dispels the idea that British companies don’t make anything any American might want (as G4Dualie posted).

            We’re all well aware that the USA has done more for the tech industry than any other nation, but they haven’t done absolutely everything. Credit where credit’s due and all that.

            1. Without Apple and the Newton, there would be no ARM.

              But you didn’t include that fact in your response either, did you Dave?

              which sort of dispels the idea that British companies don’t make anything any American might want (as G4Dualie posted).

              Hey Dave, I don’t speak for every American. Mine are my opinions only. And I never said America is the best or the only one contributing to tech.

              I do give credit when its due.

            2. I’m sure there are hundreds of other facts about ARM I didn’t include either. Doesn’t change that ARM are a British company though does it?

              Enjoy your iPad and/or iPhone.

          1. I’d disagree with that.

            Back then, England played the game that several imperial powers played. The fact that they were a bit more successful hardly makes that the most disgraceful — just a bit bigger. Spain, in particular, did an outstanding job of being utterly disgusting at that time.

            But also, in various historical times… Persian Empire? Mongols? Nazis? The imperialism of Islam? The imperialism of Christianity? Stalin? Chinese expansionism? USSR? Alexander the Great?

            1. They forced China to make heroin to fund the war of 1812. If that’s not disgraceful I don’t know what is.

              Just because they were better at stealing doesn’t endear them to me.

          2. Well, that at least gives us an idea of where you’re coming from. The UK now isn’t the British Empire that was. 50 years of decline and humiliation taught us quite a bit of well-needed humility.

            However, that doesn’t mean we no longer contribute on the world stage.

  3. It’s the Kool-Aid drinking sheep that allow Apple to fleece them year after year and put up with the atrocious iOS 7 without complaint, in fact bleating heartily like a punch drunk staggering all the way in to the sheep shearing pen.

    Baaaaa! Baaaaaaa! Baaaaaa!

    1. I guess you would also say that about my owning 7000 shares of AAPL and the Lexus I drive. Or maybe my decision to furnish iPads for the school. Also, I have been married for 56 years to the same person. Or where do you stand in life based on your decisions. Just a thought!

    2. I bought my iMac about 5 years ago – yes, a little bit pricey. However, after 5 years, it is still *beautiful* and *rock solid*. The same goes for my 4 year old macbooks. I hope to get another 3 years out of them. That would be a total of 7-8 years. Contrast that to the two lenovo laptops I purchased that all crapped out on me just under 2 years. Apple builds superior machines and that is why I am willing to put up with the initial extra cost.

  4. Yeah, for instance during the Christmas holidays, I sprung for a kindle HDX after already buying an iPad Air. The IPad Air is a far superior device. As a matter of fact, the kindle doesn’t compete with any iPad I’ve owned and I’ve had one since the original. I mention this because I considered myself a loyal ‘I sheep’. I strayed away and regret it. Never again.

  5. Being blindly loyal isn’t hard when the only alternatives are android or windows 8 squashed to fit on a phone. In my house I have access a galaxy tab 3, asus nexus 7, galaxy s2/s4 and a HTC phablet so I know what I’m talking about when I say android is for people with no taste and/or sense of quality. I’m yet to find an android user with anything good to say about android that iOS doesn’t/can’t do better. Android adoption stems from a hate of Apple or not caring either way and the phone sales guy gave you android.

    1. My sense is, consumers don’t want a choice beyond two products, which might explain why there is only room for a leader, and a close second.

      In a declining economy, the third player falls way behind and some cases is undermined by the other two.

      Android was positioned to be as powerful as AAPL, but then its founders splintered the brand, opening the door for the Asians to bring in competing brands; now Samsung’s platform is huge compared to Google’s puny market.

      I have been a loyal Apple follower since 1980 and will admit I was blind in the Nineties about Apple’s products but can state without equivocation, had I and those just like me had abandoned Apple, it wouldn’t be here today.

    2. That’s not being “blind” though. You clearly tried alternatives and I’ll assume gave them an honest chance before deciding iOS is better. That’s the total opposite of blind loyalty.

  6. Apple’s competitors can only dream of that kind of loyalty.

    But let’s be clear, only the the truly fanatical would make excuses for a flawed product.

    So many American brands have loyal followings. Coca-cola for example, has been using the same basic recipe for a hundred years and they have the largest market on earth but, deviate too much and you hear about the backlash immediately from the faithful.

    Coca-cola doesn’t bottle their own product and Apple doesn’t manufacture their products continue to foster a blind following because they remain true to their recipe for success.

  7. There is loyalty, but that doesn’t imply that it’s blind. There seem to be some very good reasons:
    Apple’ App Store is curated, so there is a lower chance of getting malware.
    If it has a hardware problem (real, not imagined) Apple takes care of it; maybe not specifically, but generally.
    Apple products are generally useful for a longer period of time.
    Apple upgrades its OS for a reasonable period – until the older hardware is no longer capable.
    Ease of use…
    I’m sure there are many more reasons, some obvious, for Apple user’s loyalty. Price isn’t the only criterium.

  8. “Asked ‘What mobile phone did you own before your current iPhone?’ the majority, 54%, unsurprisingly had another iPhone but a further 31% came from fading brands BlackBerry (17%) and Nokia (14%). That’s just 15% moving from more competitive brands.” ”
    So they’re moving from ‘fading brands’, and also moving from ‘more competitive brands’
    Jeeze, these half-wits can’t even get their story straight; which is it, guys; fading, or more competitive?
    You can’t have both.

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