One thing is for sure. Humans like to track things, list things, and survey things. Following up on the link to Samsung’s Phones Are For Old People was an interesting exercise, if anything it pointed out the Korean smartphone maker’s major branding problems.
Ofcom’s most recent survey also pointed out the obvious. Developed nations rapidly are becoming smartphone societies with device penetration exceeding more than half the adult population; larger for those younger, but growing quickly for those older.
What of Apple and Samsung?
My analysis of the analysis tells me that, along with most other manufacturers, Samsung is in a world of hurt that is only going to hurt more over time. While Apple’s penetration of older demographics is roughly the same as Samsung in the 45 to 55+ category, Apple owns younger smartphone buyers in the 16 to 44 year old category.
What’s the problem?
As with the entire Android platform, Samsung’s customer base can be divided into two distinct and disparate groups. The first is the mass user, the smartphone customer who recently switched from a feature phone, a customer not too interested in anything beyond the basics of email, texting, maps and traffic, weather, and the like; those who do not fully appreciate the security implications with owning an Android phone.
The second group is made of members of the technorati elite who fawn over every teeny tiny feature or function, most especially those of little practical consequence but which have yet to show up on Apple’s iOS. The latter group is small but noisy, and the former group is large, fickle, price conscious, growing in number, and from that growing percentage is also becoming more smartphone literate. Those are the switchers.
Samsung cannot break away from the Android albatross. Why buy an expensive Samsung S6 Edge when similar functionality is available on lesser brands at half the price? Android is Android, right? Among discriminating smartphone buyers Apple’s iPhone is considered the affordable luxury, perhaps the most expensive of the premium end of the product spectrum, but one which is more secure, easier to use, easily updated to new iOS versions, and easily differentiated from the plastic coated riffraff that makes up most of the Android world, where Samsung’s brand is being diminished and marginalized.
If smartphones had been around for a few decades, Samsung would be your father’s smartphone company.