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Nearly one in five consumers, who own both an iPad and an iPhone,
say switching smartphones is more difficult than changing bank
accounts. A simple, integrated user experience is driving consumers’
brand loyalty to their smartphones and they are less likely to switch
brands the more applications and services they use on the device, new
research from GfK finds.

GfK’s report on loyalty in the digital ecosystem was undertaken
across nine countries–Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan, Italy,
Spain, UK and the United States–and examined consumers’ barriers to
switching smartphone types and the impact of their attitudes toward the
overall user experience.

Nearly one in five (19 percent) of consumers that own both an iPad
and an iPhone believe that changing types of smartphone is more
difficult than changing bank accounts or gas or electricity providers.
As consumers build digital ecosystems and their own world of content on
handsets, the study shows that their loyalty to their smartphone brand
increases with the number of apps and services they use. The research
reveals that the tipping point for loyalty is when a consumer uses
seven or more services on their device.

Consumers in the United States are the most likely to use seven or
more services (61 percent), followed closely by China (56 percent) and
Brazil (53 percent). In comparison to this, European countries use
fewer services on their smartphones; France and Italy (46 percent),
Germany (45 percent), Spain (43 percent) and the UK (42 percent).

The research also examines the impact of three core areas when it
comes to consumers’ user experience; simplicity of use, integration of
features and access to content. Simplicity is key and 72 percent of
smartphone users say they find it easy to access their device’s
applications and navigate the menu system. Therefore, moving from a
smartphone that they are familiar with is the biggest challenge to
switching devices.

In fact, the research reveals that the main barriers to switching
all relate to user experience: 33 percent of respondents cited
disrupting their current smartphone setup (i.e., the apps and features
in use) 29 percent – having to learn how to use another type of
smartphone and 28 percent – having to move their content (music, video,
books, apps) from one type of smartphone to another.

Consumers who build a library of media and content are demanding
access to all of their digital content, irrespective of the device they
are using. Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of smartphone owners
think it is important to access the content such as music, books and
apps on any Internet-enabled device, such as smartphones, tablets and
TVs. This figure increases to 80 percent and becomes even more
important to consumers that own all three devices – a tablet,
smartphone and PC.