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Customers Becoming Less Loyal to Apple After iPhone 5, Study Finds


iPhone owners in the US and Western Europe are less likely to purchase another Apple smartphone.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is well-known for its legions of loyal customers, so much so that rival Samsung (PINK:SSNLF) even produced a TV commercial for its Galaxy S3 that mocked Apple fans.

"All I'm saying is that they should have a priority line for people who've waited five times," says a hipster-looking actor in the commercial, which is clearly Samsung's way of lightly digging at people who have stood in line for every iteration of the iPhone.

However, it appears that customers' loyalty to the iPhone is wavering. According to a study conducted by research firm Strategy Analytics, iPhone users have become less certain about buying another iPhone when a new one is released.

The study found that 88% of US iPhone owners will probably buy another Apple smartphone, compared to 93% a year ago. The drop in user loyalty was sharper in Western Europe, where the percentage likely to buy another iPhone slid to 75% from 88% in 2011.

"There is no doubt that Apple is continuing its success in retaining existing user base while attracting new customers," said Paul Brown, Director at Strategy Analytics' User Experience Practice. "However, negative press prompted by a perceived lack of recent innovation by Apple has meant we are starting to see some growth in the number of previously highly loyal consumers who are now reconsidering whether or not they will purchase a new iPhone for their next device."

Brown was, of course, referring to Apple's iPhone 5, which, at the time of its release, was perceived to be merely catching up to the Galaxy S3 and other Android (NASDAQ:GOOG) competitors in terms of features, whereas previous versions of the iPhone, with innovations like Siri, were considered to be genuinely groundbreaking.

Taryn Tulay, an analyst at Strategy Analytics' Wireless Device Lab, did point out that the number of "respondents who say they probably will or definitely will not buy their next phone from Apple is low." Nonetheless, he cautioned that "it is the shift in the number of those who are unsure whether they will remain with the same brand for their next phone that Apple should be concerned about."

In better news for the Cupertino, California-based company, it was reported that over 3 million mini iPads were sold in the first weekend of sales, with demand exceeding the initial supply. The figure was double what the previous iPad sold in its first weekend in March.

(See also: Tim Cook Fires Key Execs: Business as Usual or Beginning of the End for Apple?)

Twitter: @sterlingwong
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