Smartphones: Samsung Bursts Out to Start the New Year But iPhone Still Most Popular

ChangeWave Research’s Vice President of Research Paul Carton, Ph.D says results from 451 Research’s ChangeWave service’s latest survey on consumer smartphone demand find an explosive wave of momentum catapulting Samsung to an all-time high in the North American smart phone market.

“Consumer buying intent for Samsung smartphones has been extraordinary to start the year. Considering the Galaxy S III has been out for several months we’d normally expect a slowdown by now but its still red hot,” says Carton. “Were also seeing strong interest in Samsung’s large-screen phone the Galaxy Note II. Super-sized smartphones are taking the industry by storm in 2013.

The December survey of 4,061 primarily North American respondents also looked at mobile operating systems. In a surprise finding, users of Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS are reporting higher customer satisfaction levels than users of Android mobile OS a clear sign of strong user satisfaction with Windows Phone 8.

A year ago, ChangeWave smartphone surveys forecast that Samsung and Apple would outperform the rest of the market for 2012. The latest ChangeWave survey shows their momentum continuing in 2013 to the detriment of other manufacturers.

One-in-two North American respondents (50%) planning to buy a smartphone in the next 90 days say they’ll get an Apple iPhone. While that’s down from 71% in last quarter’s survey conducted just as the iPhone 5 was being released – historically speaking its a solid showing for Apple.

At the same time, the percentage planning to buy a Samsung smartphone in the next 90 days has soared from 13% to 21% – an unprecedented 8-pt gain.

What accounts for Samsung’s North American surge? A major clue is found in the breakout of Samsung models that consumers plan on buying in the next 90 days. While the Galaxy S III (69%) is still the most popular by a wide margin, its the Galaxy Note II (23%) – Samsung’s super-large screen Phablet – thats the biggest surprise here.

Impressive demand for the Galaxy Note II suggests the era of large-screen smartphones is upon us. Importantly, when all planned buyers were asked their screen size preference, more than one-in-four (27%) said theyre most interested in a 5-inch or larger screen.

Clearly, historical forces underlie the increasing consumer interest in large-screen smart phones, Carton notes. One example: increased reliance on data and data-driven tasks by smartphone owners is slowly but surely superceding the former reliance on voice.

So with Samsung leaping ahead in the large-screen smart phone space, does this represent a long-term competitive threat to Apple?

“Not likely,” says Paul Carton. “With this level of consumer interest, Apple is perfectly capable of producing a large-screen smartphone that’s virtually a tiny tablet. They could call it an ‘iTab’ and have it on the shelves for the next Holiday season.

The ChangeWave survey results also show a potential breakthrough for the Microsoft Windows Phone 8 operating system.

“We looked at operating system customer satisfaction based upon the OS consumers have on their smartphones,” says Carton. “As in previous surveys, Apple is the clear leader here with 71% of iOS users saying they are Very Satisfied with their phone.”

But the big surprise is that users of Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system (53%) now rank it higher in terms of customer satisfaction than do users of the Android mobile operating system (48%) a clear sign of strong user satisfaction with Windows Phone 8.

Nokia is the biggest beneficiary of the higher Windows Phone satisfaction levels to date. The Finnish manufacturer’s Very Satisfied rating jumped to 56% this quarter putting it in a dead heat with Samsung (55%) for second place though both remain well behind Apple (70%), the industry leader.

For more on ChangeWave Research, a service of 451 Research, and the Consumer Smart Phone results at:

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