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Category Analysis - Mobile Handsets


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We conducted an in-depth social media study exploring the thematic trends within conversations around the five leading handset brands in the UK. We then compared those conversations against Android for a full picture of what is driving customer experience and brand perception in the category.

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Category Analysis - Mobile Handsets

  1. 1. Category analysis Depth report Selected mobile brands and operating systems By James Withey – Head of Brand Insight +44 (0)20 7264 6316•Disclaimer copy here TBC
  2. 2. Objective and scopeOur objective To provide a unique perspective on consumer opinions of the leading handset brands and map consumer considerations and barriers when it comes to handset choice, to inform device strategyScope and approach We analysed all English language conversations within available social media around five of the leading global mobile handset brands (iPhone, Samsung, BlackBerry, HTC and Nokia), from 1 August to 13 November 2011, for the overall sentiment of discussions and the key favourable and unfavourable themes of consumer opinion. For Samsung (which operated in other categories) we narrowed down the content, excluding that which clearly relates to one of the other categories in which Samsung operates, but including general mentions of Samsung. We performed an equivalent analysis over the same time period for the Android operating system, in order to shed light on consumer perceptions of this platform provider brand against handset provider brands, and understand how this might influence handset choice.2 •Disclaimer copy here TBC
  3. 3. Comparative analysis - handset brands by sentiment iPhone and BlackBerry generated the greatest degree of polarisation within conversations about handset brands. Share of Sentiment by Handset Provider 100% 90% 80% 46% 51% 70% Share of All Conversations 75% 76% 60% 82% 50% 14% 40% 34% 30% 20% 10% 10% 35% 7% 10% 20% 15% 14% 11% 0% iPhone BlackBerry Nokia HTC Samsung Favourable Unfavourable Neutral3 •Disclaimer copy here TBC
  4. 4. Comparative analysis - net sentiment of handset brands Discussions in relation to all of handset brands are polarised despite positive net sentiment scores for all brands except BlackBerry. Net Sentiment by Handset Provider The BB outage during the period researched iPhone had a significant impact on sentiment and brand perceptions BlackBerry Nokia HTC Samsung -40% -35% -30% -25% -20% -15% -10% -5% 0% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% Unfavourable Favourable4 •Disclaimer copy here TBC
  5. 5. Comparative analysis - mapping by favourability and share of voice The much greater share of voice of iPhone amplifies its already high level of positive comments, resulting in a strong reputational profile for the brand - way ahead of its competitors. Low positive reputational impact Strong positive reputational impact Highly Favourable Conversations NS: +21 NS: +5 NS: +4 NS: +4 Lower Share of Voice Higher Share of Voice NS: -14 NS: Net Sentiment Low negative reputational impact Highly Unfavourable Conversations Strong negative reputational impact5 •Disclaimer copy here TBC
  6. 6. Comparative analysis - mapping by perceived momentum and desirability An aspirational image and perceived momentum are the key drivers of desire for consumers. Aspirational The most aspirational brand and the most innovative in Samsung is seen as the next generation consumers’ minds. The key (sometimes ‘me-too’, but growing in for Apple will be to maintain desirability) yet most of the pull is driven by desirability as ownership specific handsets and the Android OS becomes mainstream – or rather than Samsung Brand itself. perceived to be. BB is not seen as innovative as in the past and therefore has lost some of its former aspirational HTC is seen as the pull. Those who have left the franchise (mostly for outsider and gets iPhone) miss BB Messenger and the keyboard high levels of functionality. desirability especially among young females, focused on specific models which Momentum Decline compare favourably against iPhone. Once one of the HTC’s ongoing flagship brands launch of new models renowned for its has helped drive the functionality, Nokia is perception that HTC fondly remembered but is at the forefront of seen as not having innovation. moved on with the times, despite its association with Microsoft. Functional6 •Disclaimer copy here TBC
  7. 7. iPhone: Themes of conversation Consumers’ love for the iPhone is very strong and the  Like any major brand, iPhone has its detractors and its aspiration to own one shows little sign of abating. A huge dominant voice within social media means any minor irritant is volume of people state they want an iPhone on a daily basis likely to be tweeted. and this surged in the run up to Christmas.  Battery life remains a frustration and a potential adoption Apps act as a key driver of desirability and have helped to barrier, although it is doesn’t appear to be acting as a key maintain iPhone’s positive presence within social media, with driver to switch handsets for current owners. Twitter users in particular informing their followers of the  The autocorrect feature is also a prominent source of minor latest app they’d downloaded and why they liked it. frustration, although again not a cause to switch handsets. Favourable Conversation Themes by Share of Opinions Unfavourable Conversation Themes by Share of Opinions Aspirational ("I want/need an iPhone") 17% Battery life 12% Range of apps 15% Automatic spellcheck 8% Generic love of the brand 15% Problems with or slowness of running 6% updates Quality of apps 7% Complaints about apps 3% Look / Design / Interface 4% Other favourable conversations 5% Other unfavourable conversations 7% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20%7 * Excludes neutral content •Disclaimer copy here TBC
  8. 8. Samsung: Themes of conversation• Samsung benefited from Galaxy SII’s popularity over the • The Samsung brand appears to be polarising consumers, with a Christmas period, driving an increase in people talking about its sizeable chunk of detractors who do not believe Samsung can apps, and boosted its share of voice. rival iPhone. This has increased even as the Galaxy SII has• The Galaxy SII is emerging as a more aspirational handset and gained in popularity. challenging iPhone’s status. However, its share of voice is • The battery life on Samsung handsets is attracting as much overwhelmed by that of iPhone, and the desire to own a unfavourable as favourable opinion, suggesting there may be a Samsung is very much focused on one particular model. discrepancy between expectations and delivery. Favourable Conversation Themes by Share of Opinions Unfavourable Conversation Themes by Share of Opinions Features/Apps Generic hate of Samsung Aspirational ("I want / need a Samsung") Battery life Generic love of Samsung Battery life Phone isnt working Look/Design/Interface Other unfavourable conversations Other favourable conversations 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20%8 * Excludes neutral content •Disclaimer copy here TBC
  9. 9. BlackBerry: Themes of conversation Despite the recent negative press around its outage, there is  The recent outage has definitely had a damaging effect on the still a real love of the BlackBerry brand and strong following brand and prompted users to consider switching or to decide especially amongst younger consumers. to switch - mostly to iPhone. BB users who have switched miss its unique features  While battery life is a driver, it is also a key source of (keyboard and BlackBerry Messenger), which are highly complaints. Higher expectations when switching to BB may desirable among potential buyers, as is battery life. result in disappointment once consumers experience the battery life for themselves. Favourable Conversation Themes by Share of Opinions Unfavourable Conversation Themes by Share of Opinions Regret about switching phones ("I miss my BB") Phone isnt working Aspirational ("I want / need a BB") Battery life Generic love of BB BlackBerry Messenger Switching to a different handset provider Battery life Other unfavourable conversations Other favourable conversations 0% 1% 2% 3% 4% 5% 6% 7% 8% 9% 10% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25%9 * Excludes neutral content •Disclaimer copy here TBC
  10. 10. Nokia: Themes of conversation Consumers are nostalgic about Nokia phones and what they  The flipside is that Nokia is also considered to be ‘tired’. represented for them in their youth.  Consumers feel that Nokia has failed to keep pace. Their perceived resilience and reliability is still a latent  The launch of the Lumia range has generated some differentiator - and a potential driver of choice against iPhone enthusiastic early buzz. or BlackBerry for example. An opportunity for Nokia to  It will be interesting to see whether Lumia does turn the tide leverage its brand equity. for Nokia and create more relevance for the brand. Favourable Conversation Themes by Share of Opinions Unfavourable Conversation Themes by Share of Opinions Nostalgic memories of the brand Generic hate of the brand ("I hate Nokia") Generic love for Nokia Dated / No longer cool Memories of playing Snake Not working / Problems with phone Dependable / Reliable / Unbreakable Other unfavourable conversations Other favourable conversations 0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 10% 12% 14% 16% 18% 20% 0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 10% 12% 14% 16% 18% 20%10 * Excludes neutral content •Disclaimer copy here TBC
  11. 11. HTC: Themes of conversation HTC is a desirable brand - seen as innovative thanks to new  Text input is, as for other handsets, a frustration to users handset launches and with a higher proportion of aspirational (iPhone) - specifically around predictive texting, spell checking mentions (on a smaller base) than the iPhone. and the swype functionality, but not motivating enough to HTC desirability is driven by specific models (Sensation, Inspire switch brands. and Rhyme), based on their look (especially among young  Poor battery life was also mentioned as with many females) and features (e.g. swype keyboard). smartphone brands. Comparisons with iPhones are often positive (especially for Inspire). Favourable Conversation Themes by Share of Opinions Unfavourable Conversation Themes by Share of Opinions Generic hate Aspirational Text input Generic love Battery life Features/Apps Phone not working Other favourable conversations Other unfavourable conversations 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 10% 12% 14% 16% 18%11 * Excludes neutral content •Disclaimer copy here TBC
  12. 12. Android: Themes of conversation Although a challenger to Apple – a positive role for its  Poor battery life was frequently attributed to Android and is followers - Android remains less aspirational than Apple and enough of a frustration that it was linked to hashtags such as favourable conversations focus very heavily on its range of 100thingsihate. apps alone.  Whilst its advocates were keen to compare the Android has acquired the status of a handset provider and technology, there were almost as many people stating that the attracts a large volume of positive references on a daily basis. iPhone was better, despite the ‘underdog’ status of Android meaning its devotees were far more likely to feel a need to Favourable Conversation Themes by Share of Opinions compare Unfavourable Conversation Themes by Share of Opinions the two. Range of apps 30% Battery life 25% Generic love 7% Problems with the apps 4% Switching or planning to move to soon 6% iPhone is better 4% Better than the iPhone 5% Other unfavourable conversations 6% Other favourable conversations 11% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35%12 * Excludes neutral content •Disclaimer copy here TBC
  13. 13. Key insights and implications The key drivers of handset choice are emotional  With the exception of iPhone, and to some extent rather than rational (unlike barriers which are BlackBerry (more specifically because of rational). This translates into consumers displaying a Messenger), other brands do not appear to have strong - almost tribal - loyalty to the handset brand successfully driven loyalty beyond handset models. they currently own. This is evident in the widespread However, Android has established a strong group of use of team (handset name) hashtags on the Twitter and followers who do not necessarily take the handset the hostility towards people who own rival phones. functionality into account and for them, Android is performing the role that a handset brand otherwise would. Brand loyalty and love play a huge part in decisions and result from the fact that consumers’ handsets are  iPhone is the universal benchmark for handsets. an important access point to more and more aspects Everything is compared and contrasted with iPhone. of life. There is evidence within social media that groups It dominates conversation and has by far the highest level of friends stay loyal to the same brand and handset of desirability. However, the impression that iPhone is choice is often influenced by the individual’s peer group. becoming ubiquitous is an opportunity for other handset This stems from the need of the individual to ‘belong’ to a brands to respond to the desire of some consumers to tribe but more rationally their phone enables them to stay challenge the status quo. in touch with their friends. Therefore, the features of their handset need to be compatible with those used by their  Although not expressed in this way by peer group. consumers, platform is increasingly a key influence. Consumers currently express this in terms of features and Although brand loyalty appears deep and tribal, it is experience, but Android is increasingly a driver of choice also strikingly transient and appears quickly for one handset over another. This means that Android transferrable, with the desire expressed towards specific needs to be considered alongside the handset brands as handset product brands especially prone to be fickle. a brand driving handset choice.13 * Excludes neutral content •Disclaimer copy here TBC
  14. 14. Contact James Withey +44 (0) 20 7264 6316•Disclaimer copy here TBC