With the upcoming availability of the Samsung Galaxy S8, we were curious what consumers thought of the device and how interested they are in purchasing one. We teamed up with SurveyMonkey Audience to do some research on US consumers to better understand their interest level of the phone and its newest features. We also explored whether the Galaxy Note 7 battery issues were a factor in consumer interest and we threw some questions in around voice assistants for good measure. In all, we surveyed 923 consumers. These are the key findings.
Note 7 Battery Impact
In our annual fall smartphone study, we explored the issues surrounding the Note 7 and whether or not the media coverage and awareness of the battery problems led to a large amount of negative sentiment. In that study in the of fall 2016, we learned most consumers (62% to be exact) did not see the Note 7 battery fires as a deterrent to purchasing a Samsung smartphone in the future. It was even higher looking at existing Samsung smartphones owners where 73% said the Note 7 issues would not deter them from purchasing a Samsung smartphone in the future. Knowing Samsung customers are a loyal bunch, we feel both those percentages are good news for Samsung.
In this most recent survey, we found similar results. This study revealed 53% of consumers said the Note 7 issue has not impacted their interest in the Galaxy S8, while 17.7% said they were not sure or undecided. Only 28% said definitively the Note 7 battery problems negatively impacted their interest in the Galaxy S8. Again, knowing Samsung owners are a loyal bunch and are the most likely candidates to buy a S8, only 16% of existing Samsung smartphone owners said the Note 7 problems are impacting their interest in the new device.
Overall, I’m confident the data we have from the fall, and this most recent data, suggests the Note 7 fires were never a big roadblock for consumers to begin with and even less so now. This should alleviate any concern over the Note 7 fallout impacting the sales of any Samsung smartphones released this year.
Interest in the Galaxy S8
Overall, interest in the new S8 seems low. However, I expect Samsung to begin their marketing blitz and carriers to start heavily advertising the S8 in the coming weeks and months which will help with interest over time. The more important breakdown to this question is to look at interest in the S8 by existing smartphone owners and those looking to upgrade in the next three to six months.
Interest remains highest among existing Samsung smartphone owners than any other group of consumers. More importantly, drilling down on folks who expect to upgrade their smartphone in the next 3-6 months, 36% of upgraders in that time frame are interested in the Galaxy S8. Interestingly, 21.7% of upgraders in that time frame stated they were extremely interested. These are consumers looking to upgrade sooner rather than later and are not interested in waiting until the fall to upgrade. Again, the fact 36% of consumers are looking to upgrade are interested in the new Galaxy S8 bodes well for Samsung.
Looking deeper at consumers who indicated they have interest in the S8, the features that stand out most were the Infinity Display/Larger Screen (27%) and the eight-megapixel front facing camera (23%). Bixby, the more hyped feature of the S8, scored relatively low with only 13% of interested consumers saying it was the feature that interested them the most. That leads into an interesting finding we have on voice assistants.
Voice Assistants are not yet a Purchase Driver
While the usage of voice assistants like Siri, Ok Google, Alexa, and Cortana have certainly been rising, they still have a long way to go to convince the market of their greater value. It may not be a surprise but voice assistants are not the main feature or reason anyone is buying a smartphone. The earlier points I made confirmed purchase drivers are still mainly the camera and the screen. We wanted to get a sense of which voice assistant US consumers feel is the best so we included a question in our study. We asked respondents which voice assistant they felt was the best. Below are the results.
First, Siri has the lead which speaks to a greater portion of US consumers having tried Siri compared to an alternative in order to form an opinion. Just looking at iPhone owners, the sentiment that Siri is the best jumps to 46.6%. Among Android owners, 36% said Google’s Assistant is the best. Interestingly, 11.9% of Android owners said they thought Siri was the best voice assistant while only 6.3% of iPhone owners said Google’s voice assistant was the best. But here is where I felt things got interesting.
This, like all the questions in our study, was not multiple choice. We asked consumers to choose the answer that best fit their opinion. We gave them a simple “none of the above” option and we gave them the chance to pick that they think “voice assistants are useless”. Surprisingly, 29.4% of respondents deliberately chose the option that they think voice assistants are useless. Consumers are a tough crowd, with a lot of convincing to do.
Lastly, we asked consumers what they thought of Bixby and whether they expected the new Samsung smart assistant to be better, worse, or the same. Interestingly, 13.2% of the respondents showed some confidence in Samsung and Bixby saying they think it will be better than Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa. 38% said they felt it will be the same, while most consumers 43% said they don’t use any of the voice assistants so they have no opinion.
As we dug into this study, we uncovered more insights than I have time to share but the key here is Samsung still remains a solid brand despite the Note 7 issues. Consumers are still showing interest in Samsung’s latest products and the new innovations they are bringing to market. While voice assistants still have a lot of convincing to do in order to get consumers to trust them and use them more, there is enough potential here for Samsung to keep investing in Bixby since voice interfaces and voice assistants will become more valuable and desired features in the coming year.
I’ll have more to share on voice assistants and the voice UI soon as we are about to field our Voice Assistants 2.0 research study.