Some 54pc of iPhone owners have committed to the Apple brand in order not to lose the apps they bought for the platform, an international survey suggests.
Brand loyalty was driven by the non-transferable nature of apps between mobile operating systems. The iPhone attracted the strongest brand loyalty, with more than half of survey respondents pledging to commit to its platform in order to keep the apps they bought for it.
The results in a ‘Living With Digital’ survey from Futuresource Consulting highlighted smartphone trends using a sample of 2,500 respondents in the UK, France, Germany and the US.
"A quarter of people in the UK and a third in the US now own a smartphone and this growth is set to continue, with Futuresource research showing that three in four people across the UK and US will own a smartphone by 2014," said Alison Casey, head of Global Content at Futuresource Consulting.
"The ever-increasing presence of smartphones across all four territories surveyed in our ‘Living With Digital’ study has seen greatest adoption of iPhone, HTC and BlackBerry phones by the younger consumer, with the higher percentage of owners being under 25."
Facebook was found to be the most-visited site on mobile devices over all territories, followed by Google and YouTube. In the UK, the BBC surpassed YouTube, becoming the third most-viewed site on mobile devices in that region.
Sixty-four per cent of iPhone users and 32pc of other smartphone owners watch videos on their phones.
Casey emphasised the meteoric rise of smartphone apps, highlighting the fact that 10bn apps were downloaded in 2010, resulting in US$4bn in revenue.
"With over 25pc of smartphone owners surveyed in the UK and US downloading apps to their phones, this market will continue to thrive," said Casey.
"Gaming is the main driver for app downloads across all four territories and 65pc of smartphone owners regularly play games on their phones. This is closely followed by social networking and music, with more than 40pc downloading social networking apps across all territories."
iPhone owners downloaded the most games and were the most likely to pay for mobile content. One in three iPhone users made in-app purchases, compared with one in 10 Blackerry and Android users.
Casey pointed out that the industry needed to be aware of customers on prepay plans, as those in bill pay contracts were more likely to pay for content. She recommends that mobile operators place strategies to “transition consumers towards a contract mentality."