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Apple's biggest weakness and Samsung's biggest opportunity is women

Although Apple?s brand loyalty remains relatively high, an opportunity for Samsung to more aggressively target female iPhone users is breaking out as sales plateau.

InsightExpress? new ?Digital Consumer Portrait? report looks at the consumer behavior, engagement and perceptions of mobile users. Samsung has slowly been stealing typically brand-loyal iPhone users away as Apple loses some of its edge, which will likely continue into 2014.

?According to the data Apple seems to be more vulnerable among women,? said Marc Ryan, co-CEO at InsightExpress, Stamford, CT.

?If Samsung could appeal to that group they would have a window of opportunity,? he said.

IOS 7?s impact
Apple has been under increasing pressure the past few years to continuously push the envelope while the product lifestyle for manufacturers becomes smaller and consumers? expectations grow.

Additionally, the growth in lower-cost smartphones has caused Apple to lose some of its original fan boys.

Despite some of the media backlash that Apple?s iOS 7 was not innovative enough, consumers that have updated their mobile devices to the new operating system are fairly pleased, according to the findings from InsightExpress.

Seventy-one percent of iPhone owners have upgraded to iOS 7. Seventy-five percent of males and 68 percent of women have upgraded. 

Roughly 80 percent of iPhone owners are likely to purchase another iPhone based on their experience with iOS 7. 

Women are slightly less eager about buying a new iPhone than men, though. Seventy-seven percent of women said that they would likely buy another iPhone device as a result of iOS 7.  

Fifteen percent of women said that they would be unlikely to buy another iPhone, and 8 percent were neutral about switching to another type of device.

Out of the 15 percent of women that want to switch to another device, 64 percent said that they wanted to buy a Samsung device, showing the manufacturer?s control over the Android market.

Eighteen percent of women wanted to switch to a BlackBerry device, 9 percent picked HTC and 8 percent named another manufacturer.

Seventy-two percent of men and 57 percent of women have a more positive perception of the Apple brand as a result of upgrading to iOS 7.

The total group of iPhone owners rated their satisfaction with iOS 7 at 7.20 out of ten. 

Men were slightly more likely than women to have a positive sentiment about the new operating system. On a scale from zero to ten, men gave iOS 7 an average rating of 8.24, and women rated the operating system at 7.22.

Given that women tend to be heavy shoppers and tend to be brand loyal, losing women could be a significant problem for Apple if the company is not successful in creating new products that cater to their needs.

Mobile ownership grows
According to InsightExpress? data, the percentage of consumers that own an iPhone basically plateaued this year.

In the first-quarter of this year, 37 percent of consumers surveyed said that they owned an iPhone device. The percentage squeezed up to 39 percent by the third-quarter of 2013.

On the other hand, Samsung has been making gains in 2013.

During the first-quarter of 2013, 29 percent of smartphone owners had a Samsung device. By the second quarter that percentage grew to 33 percent, and 36 percent of consumers surveyed during the third-quarter of 2013 owned a Samsung device.

Samsung?s growth is primarily coming from stealing the market share of smaller manufacturers, including BlackBerry, HTC, Motorola and Nokia.

BlackBerry?s market share in Insight Express? findings has dipped from 11 percent to 7 percent this year. Similarly, HTC?s share has shrunk from 16 percent during the first-quarter of this year to 12 percent during the third-quarter.

InsightExpress? findings are made up of 1,300 participants that are older than 18 years old.

Apple?s dominance
In addition to Apple?s history in converting consumers into deep brand loyalists, iPhone users are also using their devices for more sophisticated features than Samsung owners.

For instance, 83 percent of iPhone owners use social media sites on their devices at least once a day, compared to 74 percent of Samsung owners.

Additionally, 35 percent of iPhone owners shop via their devices versus 20 percent of Samsung users.

Despite the leg-up that iTunes gives Apple, Samsung owners are slightly more likely to have a music app downloaded to their device. Fifty-three percent of Samsung owners had a music app downloaded to their devices compared to 46 percent of iPhone users.

Although Samsung?s share continues to grow, the activity percentages indicate that iPhone owners may be more valuable to marketers than Samsung owners since they are more likely to interact with sophisticated features.

?According to the data, Apple is not showing any weakness among those we surveyed, i.e. iOS 7 upgraders,? Mr. Ryan said.

?Overall, roughly two thirds of total iPhone users have a more positive opinion of Apple after the introduction of the iOS 7 operating system,? he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York