Chinese smartphone owners less interested in upgrading their phones: Study

The "lack of innovation" is the major reason why smartphone users in China do not want to upgrade their phones.

The smartphone market in China has seen fewer consumers that are passing on their old phones in favour of new ones. Accordingly, the "lack of innovation" is the major reason for this recent trend.

Tencent Online Media Group's industry research project China Tech Insights and Penguin Intelligence on Tuesday released the findings of their survey revealing the status quo of the smartphone industry in the world's biggest economy as well as the behaviour of consumers towards their handset devices.

The study involved 73,900 Chinese netizens with the goal to determine some key elements in the smartphone market: (1) how frequent Chinese consumers upgrade their smartphones (2) the proportion of online and offline sales of smartphone brands (3) elements that influence brand preference, user satisfaction and loyalty (4) and the user flow between brands.

China Tech Insights and Penguin Intelligence have reported a relatively huge drop in smartphone owners who upgrade their devices annually. The number of Android users dropped from 34.7 per cent in 2016 to 23.5 per cent this year. Meanwhile, the number of iOS users dropped from 27.8 per cent in 2016 to 16 per cent this year.

"For years, there have been no major innovative breakthroughs in the smartphone industry," reads the report. "This can be why consumers are not as interested in upgrading their phones as they were in the past."

Xiaomi users are the ones who update their phones frequently, while iPhone users are the least frequent. The report cites the iOS operating system is the reason why iPhone users stick with their phones. Oppo and Vivo users usually responded, "I am happy with the brand, but I want to shift to another brand".

It also notes that majority of previous iPhone users jumped to Huawei. In terms of satisfaction rate, 77.7 per cent of iPhone users top the list, followed by Huawei at 75.5 per cent. Samsung has the least number of satisfied customers.

China Tech Insights and Penguin Intelligence suggest that building brand culture is the best move to take if manufacturers want to turn their current users into loyal fans.

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