As of last week Gartner was reporting Android doubled its market share to 52.5 percent in Q3, while Apple recorded a decline from the year previous at 15 percent in the face of a delayed iPhone 4S. Despite that, a report from research firm GfK (via Reuters) claims iPhone owners are much more likely to display OS loyalty by picking up another iPhone when upgrading their handset.

Specifically, 84 percent of iPhone users included in the research said they would be upgrading to another iPhone, in contrast to just 60 percent of Android users who plan on purchasing another Android device. RIM was of course behind both with 48% of users planning on sticking with a Blackberry.

“The scope for brands to lure customers from rivals has diminished and the richest rewards will go to those providers that can create the most harmonious user experience and develop this brand loyalty” -GfK

So why don’t they want to switch? 33% of consumers included in the research cite not wanting to change the apps and features associated with their device. 29% of respondents didn’t want to learn how to use another device, while 28% didn’t want to transition their content from one device to another…

While noting that 19% of consumers who own both an iPhone and iPad find it harder to switch smartphone platforms than bank accounts, GfK claims their research finds users are less likely to switch brands the more applications and services they use on the device”. Apple’s vast App Store ecosystem of over 500,000 apps and tightly integrated services are certainly contributing to their ability to create brand loyalty among consumers. As of Apple’s Q4 earnings call, the company annoucned 18 billion App Store downloads, 180 million iBookstore downloads, and 16 billion songs downloaded from iTunes.

The results are even more telling when it comes to users who more than one device using the same OS. For example, GfK found 72% of smartphone users think they should be able to access all of their content seamlessly on all of their internet connected devices– tablets, smartphones, and TVs. The number increased to 80% for users that owned a tablet as well. The report explains:

As smartphones become more advanced, creating a smooth and high quality user experience is a complex task, but despite this, 71% of smartphone customers believe the services and features on their devices work seamlessly with each other. The more services a consumer uses on a device, the more tightly integrated they feel the features and functions are, indicating that well executed service and hardware integration are having a positive effect on consumer loyalty.

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