For The First Time Ever, iPhone Owner Loyalty Declines

For the first time since the iPhone's inception, the percentage of the smartphone's owners who say they will definitely or probably buy another Apple handset has declined.

According to research conducted by Strategy Analytics, a study found that 88 percent of U.S. iPhone owners are likely to buy another Apple smartphone, representing a decrease from 93 percent last year. In Western Europe, meanwhile, the total stands at 75 percent, which is a decrease from 88 percent in 2011.

While the firm argues that Apple is attracting new customers, it says that negative press has led to the aforementioned decrease in consumer interest for iPhones.

"There is no doubt that Apple is continuing its success in retaining existing user base while attracting new customers," said Paul Brown, director at Strategy Analytics' User Experience Practice. "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."

Taryn Tulay, an analyst at Strategy Analytics, explained that "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."

Recent figures from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech shows that while Apple's iOS is increasing its market share in the U.S., Android's market share increased across Europe in the 12 weeks of sales that ended on September 30. Google's mobile platform enjoyed a market share increase to 67 percent in the region, which is a considerable increase from the 51 percent share it held last year.

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