Android set to ‘leak’ users to iPhone as US ownership peaks

by Kenny Hemphill on August 8, 2013

iPhone 5 in Black with EarPodsOwnership of Android smartphones in the US will remain at its current level of around 34% of the population while iPhone usage rises and eventually passes that mark, according to The Guardian, which based its report on a study by the research firm Yankee Group.

Despite growing Android shipments worldwide, the group predicted that the US is already at ‘peak Android’ and penetration will not increase. It reasoned that Android customers are significantly less loyal than Apple users, and that while only 9% of the latter will switch to another platform when they buy a new phone, 24% of Android users will move.

Yankee Group, said The Guardian, likened the platforms to leaky buckets.


Think of the Apple and Android ecosystems as two buckets of water. New smartphone buyers – mostly upgrading featurephone owners – fall like rain into the two big buckets about equally, with smaller numbers 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% 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 hay have had fewer owners in it to begin with.

The majority of Android customers are first-time smartphone owners, usually those who have upgraded from a feature phone, but with smartphone ownership rising rapidly, the supply of first-time owners is drying up.

The Yankee Group report refers only to the US, where the iPhone has a larger market share than it does in the rest of the world. In the second quarter of this year, Android accounted for 80% of smartphone shipments, while the iPhone made up 13% of the market. Nevertheless, the fact that 18% of Android customers plan to buy an iPhone next time around, with another 6% buying neither Android nor iOS, will be a concern for Google, handset manufacturers, and developers.

Yankee Group collected data from 16,000 people in the US over the last 12 months.

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