Internal company documents which were used in Apple’s court battle with Epic Games in May have shown that Apple lost iPhone users over a number of quarters in 2019 and 2020.
Epic Games sued Apple over what it views as anti-competitive policies in the Apple App Store, specifically in the smartphone giant’s restriction of purchasing methods outside of its own system, which prevents app developers from selling directly to users.
Apple in its arguments included data which it contends illustrated that consumers had a choice to move to other devices if they felt Apple’s App Store policies were too strict.
A chart compiled by Apple’s Market Research, which was shared on Twitter by Creative Strategies CEO and principal analyst Ben Bajarin, showed there was “meaningful” switching quarter over quarter when iPhone owners purchased a new phone.
In the third quarter of 2019, for example, Apple’s data showed that 81% of iPhone owners did not switch to another smartphone, meaning that 19% moved.
The following quarter, in which Apple launched its iPhone 11, 86% of users were retained, with only 14% switching.
Apple took a harder hit during the first half of its 2020 financial year, with 26% of owners switching to other smartphones, but recovered again with iOS loyalty jumping back to 88% in Q3 2020.
With Android dominating the smartphone OS market due to its presence across most other major smartphone brands competing with Apple – including Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei, Vivo, and OnePlus – it’s likely that most of the users who did not stick to iOS went to Google’s platform.
The image below shows iOS loyalty changed between Q3 2019 and Q3 2020.
Despite losing some users during these periods, research has shown that Apple enjoys high brand loyalty overall.
A previous survey of 5,000 smartphone users carried out by SellCell showing that 92% of iPhone users said they would not move to another brand, while only 74% of Samsung users were not looking to buy from another smartphone maker.