The latest findings from SMIX – YouGov’s Smartphone, Mobile Internet eXperience tracker – reveals a fall in consideration and expectation levels for HTC amongst smartphone owners; an indication that the brand needs to seriously look at the way it markets its devices in order to win back consumers and compete with market-leader Apple and rising threat Samsung.
June 2012 saw future HTC consideration levels fall to just 30% – a drop from 42% in June 2011. In the same period, expectation levels for the phone manufacturer also fell – from 16% to 9%.
Once a key brand in the market – and a serious threat to Apple – HTC has suffered disappointing profits since mid-2011. YouGov suggests that one issue the brand needs to address is the ability to differentiate between handsets, and market accordingly. Back in 2010, HTC’s ‘Desire’ and ‘Wildfire’ ranges won consumers over and brought the brand to the fore of the smartphone market. Since then, however, the brand has launched a plethora of phones – within the same range – which many consumers struggle to differentiate between. For example, in the ‘Sensation’ range, HTC launched the ‘Sensation’; ‘Sensation XE’ and ‘Sensation XL’; a strategy that undermined its proposition and hampered the brand. Furthermore, HTC has decided to continue this strategy with its new ‘One’ range.
In a tale of two fortunes, competitor Samsung has had a great year with innovative products and ranges – the ‘Galaxy’ in particular – that have proved popular amongst consumers and the smartphone industry alike. The brand is now the Android future choice of destination with high loyalty, consideration and expectation rates increasing year-on-year.
Consequently, Samsung has been able to take advantage of HTC’s losses – stealing HTC’s mantle in the market and monopolising on its custom – the Korean phone manufacturer is tempting HTC customers over to its brand; whilst HTC retain 34% of its loyal customers, the majority (66%) of HTC customers will not get a HTC again but will churn elsewhere – Samsung being the smartphone of choice.
Russell Feldman, Associate Director in YouGov’s Telecoms and Technology team, commented on the findings: “The latest SMIX findings are not surprising; HTC has long been falling out of the rat race. Our research also found a small number of HTC owners considered their make and model of HTC before purchasing it – significantly lower consideration rates compared to rival brands – a worrying sign.”
Feldman continued: “The brand needs to act, and fast, in order to prove their worth in the fast paced industry that is the smartphone market. Marketing and advertising, as well as branding need re-evaluating in order to re-tempt churners and win new custom – which is currently going to Samsung.”