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Why Aren't Consumers Buying Windows Phone Devices?

by Kevin Nolan | Jan 23, 2011

Although Microsoft is yet to release official sell-through figures for Windows Phone 7 devices, indications from the software vendor's OEM partners have suggested that uptake of the new OS has so far failed to meet expectations.

In an effort to understand why consumers appear to have not yet embraced WP7, Strategy Analytics undertook a qualitative survey of 158 smartphone owners and intenders in San Diego, CA. The research was conducted in the week ending 21st January 2011 with an equal number of consumers in four categories: owners of Android, iPhone, and Blackberry devices, and consumers who intend purchasing a smartphone within 60 days.

Respondents were asked how likely they would be to consider a device running each of the following operating systems if they were to purchase a new phone immediately.

  • 85% of respondents said they would consider or strongly consider an iOS device
  • 84% would consider or strongly consider an Android device
  • But, only 51% would even consider a Windows Phone 7 device

We asked all respondents who said that they would not consider a WP7 device - or were unsure - to explain the reason for their answer in their own words. Post-survey analysis of their responses indicates that the main reason for this is a lack of awareness of the OS.

If reports that Microsoft have spent in excess of $500m promoting WP7 are accurate, the company will no doubt be disappointed to find that 1 in 4 of our respondents said that they had never heard of the OS, or felt that they did not know enough about it to consider purchasing a device running it.

The full list of reasons given by WP7 rejecters (and the number of respondents who mentioned each one) is as follows:

  • Unfamiliar with it / Don't know enought about it (42 mentions)
  • Prefer another OS / Prefer Mac products generally (11)
  • Consider Windows Mobile products to be Difficult to Use (9)
  • Consider Windows Mobile products to be Poor Quality/Unreliable (9)
  • Not enough Apps / Fewer Apps than Competitors (3)
  • Consider Windows Mobile software to be Outdated (2)

It is also interesting to note that 1 in 8 respondents have a negative perception of Windows Mobile products - either that they are 'difficult to use', 'buggy/slow/unreliable', or simply 'outdated'. Most of the individual comments suggest that this perception is based on personal experience of earlier versions of the software.

Our Wireless Device Lab will produce a full report on smartphone OS perceptions during 1Q 2011.


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