RealTime IT News

Apple Envy? 38% of Non-iPhone Users Mull Switch

Apple fans keep sharing the love -- and loyalty -- for the iPhone. And their infatuation is proving infectious.

Thirty-eight percent of phone owners who don't have an Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone would "probably" or "definitely" switch to the popular device upon their next purchase, according to a new study from market research firm Crowd Science.

On the other hand, only 14 percent of non-Blackberry smartphone users would switch to a Research in Motion BlackBerry for their next purchase.

That steep difference may not be surprising, considering that iPhone owners have higher rates of satisfaction compared to owners of other smartphones, according to Crowd Science's survey (available here in PDF format).

According to Crowd Science, 82 percent of the Apple iPhone users it polled indicate they're loyal to the iPhone brand. The study also said iPhone users account for one out of every three smartphone owners it studied.

"iPhone users are extremely brand-loyal," the study said. "Virtually all iPhone owners, 97 percent, would recommend an iPhone to someone else, and 82 percent would buy another iPhone. Furthermore, almost six in ten iPhone users agree they would buy Apple products over other brands if given the choice."

The results come on the heels of Apple's successful launch of its new iPhone 3G S -- and they represent continued evidence of the threat posed by Apple to the leader in the smartphone space, Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM).

Apple said it sold a million new iPhones during the first three days of the device's availability since going on sale on Friday.

Still, RIM still tops Apple in market share in the space -- one of the few tech segments still performing well, according to research firm Gartner.

Smartphone sales represented 13.5 percent of all mobile device sales in the first quarter of 2009, compared with 11 percent in the first quarter of 2008, with RIM having 19.9 percent market share in this year's Q1 compared to Apple's 10.8 percent.

Apple's mojo rising

Yet Apple's iPhone shows stronger levels of satisfaction than does the RIM BlackBerry.

Compared with BlackBerry users, iPhone owners report a significantly higher overall satisfaction level with their phone. In particular, iPhone users are more satisfied than other smartphone users with their phones' screen size, navigation, availability of add-ons and video playback, Crowd Science said.

Perhaps most troubling for Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) is evidence that a greater proportion of smartphone users would consider switching to the iPhone than to a BlackBerry for their next purchase.

"These results reflect the great challenges BlackBerry faces in stemming the iPhone stampede," Crowd Science CEO John Martin said in a statement.

The Crowd Science survey polled approximately 600 respondents over age 14 from May 19 to June 8, the date Apple announced the iPhone 3 G S.

iPhone driving mobile ads, commerce

Jason Spero, vice president of mobile ad company AdMob, said this type of iPhone owner profile, along with the new 3G S and operating system, will continue to fuel mobile commerce.

"We can expect massive growth in the mobile advertising space, and nowhere more significantly than on the iPhone, which has the highest data usage of any device in the market today," he told InternetNews.com. "The new 3.0 OS is exciting for developers because it gives them new ways to generate revenue from their applications, such as the use of the new micropayment capabilities. We're excited to see the growth in advertising that the new iPhone 3GS and the $99 iPhone will bring to the industry."

RIM had not returned calls for comment by press time.