In a nutshell: Apple fans have long been known for their brand loyalty, something which, according to a new survey, has now reached an all-time high of 92%. It's the opposite story for owners of Android handsets, with many preparing to switch to different brands or even jump to iOS when they upgrade.

Sellcell's survey involved more than 5,000 smartphone users in the United States aged 18 years or older. Out of the 2,000 iPhone users who participated, 92% said they would stick with Apple when upgrading. That's an increase from 90.5% in 2019. The top reasons for staying with Apple were:

  • Like iPhone best or never had an issue with it: 65%
  • Locked into the ecosystem: 21%
  • Switching from iOS to Android is too much hassle: 10%
  • Prefer to stick to what they know: 8%

Looking at rival Samsung, the Korean firm saw its brand loyalty rating fall 11.7% from 85.7% in 2019 to 74% in 2021. Over half of those jumping ship will land on Apple's platform, with 31.5% citing privacy concerns as the main reason for moving to an iPhone, while 25% say Apple offers better value for money.

The top reasons for staying with Samsung were:

  • Like Samsung best or never had an issue with it: 64%
  • Locked into the ecosystem: 5%
  • Too much hassle changing operating systems from Android to iOS: 18%
  • Prefer to stick to what they know: 13%

Other Android brands are also struggling to hold on to users: Just 65% of Pixel users intend to upgrade to another one of Google's phones; 34% of LG owners are sticking with the brand; a mere 29% of users are staying with Motorola.

When asked about the leading smartphone companies' flagship lines, 46.6% of respondents said they believe the new iPhone 12 range is the best while 30.4% prefer Samsung's Galaxy S21 series. They were also asked to pick their favorite individual models released in or after August 2020. The iPhone 12 topped the list, followed by the iPhone 12 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S21.

Most popular smartphones.

1. Apple iPhone 12 --- 17%

2. Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max --- 12.7%

3. Samsung Galaxy S21 --- 11.4%

4. Apple iPhone 12 Pro --- 10.6%

5. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra --- 10%

6. Samsung Galaxy S21+ --- 9%

7. Google Pixel 5 --- 8.1%

8. Apple iPhone 12 Mini --- 6.3%

9. Other --- 5%

10. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G --- 3.1%

11. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G --- 2.5%

12. LG Wing 5G --- 2.3%

13. Motorola Razr 5G --- 1.2%

14. Motorola Edge S --- 0.8%

The pandemic meant the smartphone market struggled during the first three quarters of 2020, but an Apple-led revival in Q4 brought renewed optimism. Overall, global shipments were down 5.9% across the year. While demand for phones is increasing, supply could become an issue as the industry becomes the latest to feel the effects of worldwide chip shortages.