updated 11:30 pm EDT, Fri June 29, 2012
Collective total value of loyal base: $295B
The loyalty of Mac users to the Apple brand is legend throughout both the industry and computer users generally, but only a handful of studies have ever really tested user loyalty to Apple on its iOS devices -- though every study done indicates that buyers are "very satisfied" with them. A survey done by Goldman Sachs suggests that around 21 percent of iOS owners would not switch to another platform "at any price."
The survey also showed that a majority (88 percent) of respondents that had one iOS were either "highly likely" or "likely" to make their next mobile device an Apple product as well, and that figure increased if they had more than one device (to 96 percent). Among those with one iOS device, 14 percent said they were "unsure" or "unlikely" to move to another platform on their next purchase, but that figured dropped to four percent among those who own more than one iOS product.
Analyst Bill Shope noted the results in an email to investors Friday, and added that he believes every iOS customer to be "worth" around $1,053 to Apple (an estimated 45 percent "margin" assuming a low defection rate and an average $535 selling price), making the 21 percent's collective value $295 billion, or roughly half of Apple's current valuation. The survey questioned 1,000 buyers, and was begun to gain a better understanding of the costs involved in switching mobile platforms. Such costs only grow when users have more than one device on the same platform, which may explain the high skew of multiple-iOS device owners (and thus a similar bias would be seen for multiple-Android device owners). Goldman Sachs estimates that costs to switch range from $122 to $301 on average, or about half the cost of a contract-free device for most iOS products.
Among those who would switch if the price was right, more than half needed that inducement of 50 percent or more off the competing item's retail price before they would switch. Overall, however, only one percent of those polled said they were "unlikely" to stick with Apple.
The survey also revealed that the free iCloud service on iOS was very popular, with over 120 million users (a figure published by Apple), but also that about 30 percent of the iOS users said they were paying the $25 annual fee for iTunes Match, which provides a cloud backup, and Wi-Fi streaming or download of stored music. [via AppleInsider]