Just a quick note from Argus Insights to give some hints as to what we have cooking for 2015. 2014 has been a year of expansion and growth for Argus Insights. Not only has our coverage of Consumer Products expanded to include Wearables, Appliances, and Internet of Things devices, but we are also pulling consumer data globally from Chinese smartphone users, and Indian and German Consumer Electronic consumers.
Our ability to beat Wall Street Analysts on where consumer markets are headed continues to be validated with accurate predictions on Apple, Best Buy and other brands during 2014. We have also expanded our analysis of consumer behavior in social media to include B2B categories such as Software Defined Networks, Embedded Vision, Network Function Virtualization, Internet of Things, Cloud Computing and more. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.
A couple weeks ago we examined the effectiveness of Sprint’s ‘Cut Your Bill in Half’ promotion, and now CNET has reported that Sprint “added close to a million customers during its fiscal third quarter,” putting them “just ahead of T-Mobile in terms of total customers.” Sprint has introduced a slew of promotions in an effort to surpass T-Mobile and secure its spot in the top three US carriers. Sprint’s increase in customers came with an increase in delight. However, despite this internal growth, Sprint consumers are some of the most unhappy smartphone customers.
Sprint Saw Increased Buzz & Delight from Fiscal Q2 – Q3 2014, but Remains the Least Delightful US Carrier
Buzz and delight have both gone up for Sprint as it gained more customers through various promotions, but Sprint’s overall delight scores remain lower than all other US subscribers. Sprint slashed access fees and increased data to attract customers, but Sprint’s users continue to report the problems with the speed, performance, and reliability of their phones. Will these recently acquired customers stay with Sprint if they do not invest in upgrading their network?
While Sprint has seen an increase in their personal consumer delight scores, indicating better satisfaction within the company, they are still the least delightful major US carrier. With T-Mobile and other carriers constantly looking for ways to shake up the mobile market, pushing their own promotions like allowing customers to roll over unused data, can Sprint retain their underwhelmed customers with low rates? Or will they seek greener pastures with the next another carrier to offer them an appealing promotion? Argus Insights will continue to track the feedback from Sprint’s new consumers to report if they can maintain the momentum they have gained through promotions.
According to app analysis by Flurry, devices that run iOS (aka Apple iPhones) constituted just over half the mobile devices activated in the week leading up to Christmas. Their analysis is based on the assumption that the first thing someone does when they receive a smartphone is download apps. Here at Argus Insights, we track engagement through consumer reviews, to discover how consumers use and enjoy their devices. Our analysis shows that Apple reviews constituted less than 30% of all smartphone reviews in the days after Christmas.
Since we constantly collect reviews across brands, we can compare the volume of consumer interaction and delight levels derived over time. Doing this shows that while Apple received more attention overall, Samsung saw a larger post holiday boost in reviews. As for delight, people who found iPhones in their stockings were happier with their phone than those who received Samsung devices.
Argus Insights tracks and analyzes consumer feedback in several markets. Check out our monthly Consumer Demand Reports for Smartphones, Home Automation, and Wearables, or contact us for custom analysis or access to our data and tools.
Smartphones now come with so many features that the original calling function is often overlooked. With texting, email, facetime, snapchat, and several other ways to communicate, the modest phone call has become an antiquated practice. While there are several different ways to communicate on a smartphone, users are still concerned with making calls, and their feedback is predominantly negative. Despite all the other capabilities, a smartphone is ultimately still a phone, and consumers are not satisfied with this primary function.
This shift in usage is happening across all smartphone brands, but negative feedback is more prominent for less popular brands like Kyocera, Sharp, and ZTE, since users are willing to overlook poor call quality in favor of other features from more popular brands like Apple, Sony, and Samsung.
We drill down into specific complaints and consumer sentiment about phone usage by brand in our Peek and Focus November Smartphone Consumer Demand Report.
Argus Insights tracks consumer behavior in several markets. Reports are also available for the Wearables and Home Automation markets. If you are interested in custom reports, consultation, or gaining access to our data, please contact us.
In November we covered the new kids on the block in the smartphone market, Chinese manufacturer OnePlus. Their goal was to disrupt the market by selling high-end smartphones for more than half the price of Apple, Samsung, HTC, etc. They succeeded in driving awareness to their campaign and gained approval from the consumers who took notice of their budget friendly smartphone, which boasts the same high-end features that are sought after in the iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phones.
OnePlus got off to a fast start as consumer demand quickly overwhelmed the limited supply of smartphones available. Due to the fact that the company is microscopic compared to the juggernauts in the industry, careful planning and strategic production were essential in growing the company and lowering the risk of bankruptcy. OnePlus came up with an invite system for consumers that were interested in purchasing the One, which allowed them to only produce what they can sell to prevent excess inventory. Lucky adopters that got their hands on an invite purchased the phone and delight numbers grew rapidly.
Unfortunately, success sometimes is a double-edged sword, being that high praise and reviews led to demand magnifying at a rate that OnePlus could not keep up with. Consumers were left wanting to get their hands on the product, and found it almost impossible to get an invite. The struggle led to frustration, and that frustration gave way to sellers that took advantage the limited supply. OnePlus One smartphones started to emerge on Amazon, and other secondhand vendors, where the phone was being sold to those willing to pay a higher premium in order to get the phone they wanted. Many buyers were misled, and bought phones from sellers that got their hands on the Chinese variant of the OnePlus One that was not supported on the GSM networks in the United States. This drove down consumer delight scores, as users filed angry reviews about the second hand sellers.
The combination of hungry buyers waiting for OnePlus to refill their buffet stations, and scalpers taking advantage of eager buyers, led to a drop in delight for the company towards the end of October as consumers began to voice the unpleasant experience in OnePlus’s supply chain and useless Chinese variants that are now nothing but expensive paperweights. It is also vital to point out that the drop in delight mostly reflects unhappiness due to limited supply, high prices on Amazon, and consumers that were duped into buying the Chinese variant of the OnePlus One. Overall, those fortunate enough to get their hands on the unicorn phone are still delighted in the One as a viable alternative to the more expensive smartphones on the market.
Argus Insights will continue to keep a close eye on OnePlus and the rest of the smartphone market as the year comes to an end and manufacturers push to move more inventory from retailers into the hands of consumers. To learn more, sign up for our free weekly updates about consumer smartphone perceptions.