Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has carved out a very specific niche within the smartphone market. Many that don’t consider the company’s products to be anything out of the ordinary have criticized them for being no better, and sometimes worse, than competitors’ handsets, yet priced somewhat more expensively. But one thing cannot be doubted: the name Apple still carries a great deal of cachet.

This was confirmed once again by a study that was recently conducted by SIMOnlyContracts.co.uk. The report carried out by a website which helps consumers compare smartphone deals looked at the amount of brand loyalty which many of the top smartphone manufacturers can enjoy. And it probably won’t be a huge surprise to anyone that follows the market closely that Apple came top of the pile quite comfortably.

Apple Brand Loyalty

Apple brand loyalty huge

Around 2,000 iPhone owners were polled in the study, and the level of loyalty recorded will be very pleasing for Apple. As much as 60 percent of those surveyed described their relationship with Apple as one of “blind loyalty”, while 78 percent stated that they “couldn’t imagine having a different type of phone” than an iPhone.

It has been this such of attachment to Apple products which has enabled the California-based consumer technology giant to establish itself as one of the most significant brands in the world. It was only a few months ago that it was announced Apple had been named the world’s number one brand in the annual Interbrand list. Apple achieved the massive feat of displacing Coca-Cola from the top of that particular esteemed listing; the first time in its history that this had been achieved.

Entire marketing departments work slavishly on attempting to carve out a brand image for a particular product, or a particular company’s products, and this is something that Apple has done expertly. An Apple product is instantly recognizable, and the design quality related to them has been acknowledged to be unequaled, even by those who revile other aspects of Apple’s operation.

Samsung rivalry

It is this sheer prestige that Apple has created with regard to its products that Samsung will have to take on if they are to ever displace them as the world’s number one smartphone manufacturer. However, this study indicates that they have a lot of work to do in this department, although they did do relatively well in another statistic created by the survey. Of those who had switched to an iPhone from other smartphone brands, 9 percent had originally owned a Samsung device, compared to 17 percent from BlackBerry, 14 percent from a Nokia phone, 4 percent from HTC and only 2 percent from a Sony phone.

Apple Brand Loyalty

Intriguingly as well, the number of people who stated that they would stick with Apple through thick and thin was larger in percentage terms than the number of people who stated that they were particularly impressed with the iPhone. Only around half of respondents were especially impressed by the iPhone, yet much larger percentages have stated that they will never part with one. This is the sort of brand identification that every company dreams about!

Interestingly as well, the survey found that over half of iPhone owners have purchased a phone by a different company previously. This suggests that Apple does a very good job of attracting new customers and then keeping them. A surprisingly high number of ‘switchers’ took this decision due to familiarity with iOS, with 37 percent citing this reason in their decision. 25 percent stated that they moved to Apple because of iOS-specific features like iMessage and FaceTime.

Apple tattoo

Apple’s iPhone 6

With Apple due to release the latest iteration of the iPhone this year, these figures will be more than encouraging for them. If the manufacturer can retain this sort of loyalty among consumers then it seems inevitable that they’ll retain their position as the world’s most successful smartphone manufacturer. This has been a particular catalyst in their success in the Western market, but Apple will now be looking to establish such brand loyalty elsewhere, with East Asia particularly on its radar.

The iPhone 6 will be arguably the most anticipated smartphone release of the year, and according to analysts is expected somewhere between June and September; rather earlier in the year than recent iPhone releases.