For the first time ever, the percentage of iPhone owners who say that they definitely or probably will buy another Apple phone has declined, according to Strategy Analytics. And negative press is partly to blame, the firm said.
For the first time since the phone originally launched in 2007, the number of iPhone owners who say they will definitely or probably purchase their next handset from Apple has declined, the firm said.
According to Paul Brown, director at Strategy Analytics' User Experience Practice:
There is no doubt that Apple is continuing its success in retaining existing user base while attracting new customers. 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.
The firm's study found that only 88 per cent of US iPhone owners are likely to buy another Apple smartphone, down from 93 per cent in 2011. In Western Europe, the total is 75 per cent, down from 88 per cent last year.
That's still a lot, of course, but it does show that Apple faces risks with maintaining its current customer base. Some recent studies have shown that Google's Android system has been gaining ground, while Microsoft recently launched its newest Windows Phone software that it hopes will better compete with iOS.
Figures released yesterday from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech showed that Android continues to make market share gains across Europe in the 12 weeks of sales that ended 30 September. In that region, Google's mobile OS rose to a 67 per cent share, compared with 51 per cent for the same stretch a year ago, while iOS edged down slightly to 16.5 per cent.
As Taryn Tulay, an analyst at Strategy Analytics, noted, "it is the shift in the number of those who are unsure whether they will remain with the same brand for their next phone that Apple should be concerned about".