Consumers are now just as likely to buy a mobile phone for the operating system as the handset brand, according to the latest statistics from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
The firm’s latest monthly data reveals that operating systems are now on a virtually equal footing with the handset brand when customers are choosing a new smartphone.
The percentage of consumers who choose a phone based solely upon the OS rose to 18% in the four weeks ending 10 July 2011, up from 12% six months previously. Meanwhile, the importance of handset brands fell from 27% to 20%, while 50% of customers now consider both factors when choosing a smartphone.
The shift comes as consumer awareness of mobile operating systems is growing, helped by the increasing popularity of BlackBerry and Apple handsets.
Kantar Worldpanel ComTech’s consumer insight director Fiona Keenan explained: ‘In the past six months, OS providers have mounted an effective challenge to handset manufacturers’ brand loyalty. Android in particular is a very popular choice, and many consumers prioritise this type of operating system over their choice of handset.
‘This trend is most worrying for HTC, where 29.7% of their current users would choose a phone based on the OS, and only 6.5% on the handset.’
Keenan concluded: ‘Although there are many consumers whose purchasing decisions are not yet influenced by OS, most customers are rapidly finding their feet in the expanding smartphone market.’