Are Mobile Platforms Sticky

by Ben Bajarin   |   July 5th, 2011

Asymco is a blog I frequent and enjoy. The blog’s author Horace Deidu recently wrote a very interesting article titled: The Android (in)adequacy: How to tell if a platform is good enough. In this article he highlighted some observations about a consumers tendency to switch mobile platforms.

This is a question I have been interesting in doing a deeper analysis of myself. I am interested in how sticky certain mobile platforms are over others. From a strategy and competitive advantage standpoint understanding the stickiness of a mobile platform is a key issue.

The premise of Horace’s article points out a theory on if a technology is good enough consumers are less likely to switch to something new. The example from the quote he used was of deodorant.

“Most people never change their deodorant,” I remember him saying. “They pick one brand when they are young, and stick with it for a long, long time. If it works, why switch?”

It was an interesting quote but i’m not sure the consumer packaged goods industry exactly parallels the personal technology industry.

Given how many people each quarter are switching from Windows to Mac’s there is something deeper happening in the personal technology sector.

The real question, that only watching the industry for the next two years will tell us, is how stickily mobile platforms truly are. This holiday quarter should be a indicator of how loyal consumers are to one platform vs. their interest in other platforms.

The mobile industry is unique and different than the PC sector because hardware churn is and will be higher. Consumer may hold on to their phones for two years at a maximum which means they are free to shop more frequently and evaluate all their choices more often than with other products.

My gut is that certain mobile platforms have an opportunity to be more sticky than others. This is certainly worth a deeper analysis but the news that Android sales are flattening is an indicator that not only was its explosive growth unsustainable but that as consumers shop for new devices this holiday they may truly evaluate each platform and figure out which is the best for them.

Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research. He is a husband, father, gadget enthusiast, trend spotter, early adopter and hobby farmer. Full Bio