US and UK audience intelligence: Why people are considering switching phone brands and carriers
May 17th, 2022, Hoang Nguyen

US and UK audience intelligence: Why people are considering switching phone brands and carriers

Roughly 8% of all US adults indicate they are not loyal to their current handset brand and are also in the market to switch carriers within the next 12 months, according to YouGov data.

These Handset-neutral Switchers represent a potential market size of 20.5 million US adults who are open to switching both their mobile phone brand and their carrier service.

Across the pond, 6% of adults in the UK also indicate they are not tied to their current handset brand and are also open to switching carriers within the next year.

In this piece, we'll take a closer look at these Handset-neutral Switchers audiences, particularly what makes them different from the overall adult population in the US and UK. Using data from Telco Profiles— which measures consumer attitudes and perceptions toward brands and carriers across 18 countries— this analysis will tackle key questions like:

  • What factors are most important to this audience when it comes to choosing a new mobile device?
  • Why are they unhappy with their current service provider?
  • What motivates them to consider switching carriers?

Discover the push and pull factors driving loyalty among consumers in YouGov’s latest Telco report for Q1 2022

Why Handset-neutral Switchers are considering jumping ship

Looking at core demographics such as age, Handset-neutral Switchers in the US tend to be younger: 30% of this group are between the ages of 18 and 29 (vs. 22% of all US adults) and 34% are between the ages of 30 and 44 (vs. 26%). They are also more likely to be male compared to the overall US population.

The age composition of Handset-neutral Switchers in the UK also skews younger, with 38% of this group likely to be between the ages of 18 to 34 when compared to 26% of the UK population.

Beyond these basic demographics, the data reveals that getting a cheaper deal (27%), better network coverage (25%), and better value for money (such as higher data allowances for talk and text; 23%) are the top reasons this audience in the US say they would switch carriers. This audience is also interested in seeing what other carriers have to offer in terms of 5G connectivity, with 18% saying they want to switch providers in order to take advantage of 5G services.

The motivations behind considering a different carrier are similar in the UK: 38% say it’s for a cheaper deal, 27% say they want better value for money and 23% want better network coverage. A quarter of Handset-neutral Switchers in the UK also say they want to reduce their mobile spending (for example, by downgrading their data allowances; 25%).

What they’re looking for in their next handset

Top-end phone manufacturers such as Samsung and Apple release new phone models with upgraded features such as faster processors, better battery life and improved cameras nearly every year.

To understand which features influence peoples’ choice of a mobile device most, we asked this audience of Handset-neutral Switchers about the phone features that are most important to them in their next device.

Handset-Neutral Switchers in the US indicate the factors that weigh most heavily in choosing a phone are value for money (55%), the size of the phone (42%) and the device’s screen size (40%).

Certain phone qualities seem to matter more to Handset-Neutral Switchers than other consumers. For example, they are more likely to want the latest model (22% vs. 17% of all US consumers) and consider whether a device was produced ethically (24% vs. 19%). The weight of the device, ecological impact and how it charges are other important factors for this audience.

In the UK, people who are looking to switch carriers and also say they are not loyal to their current phone brand report their top considerations in a new device are value for money (62%), screen size (42%), size of device (40%), how it fits in-hand (34%) and the quality of the device materials (26%).

Download our latest report for updates into the wireless market and deep insights into consumers’ upgrading and switching intentions.
In the US Q1 2022 edition, you can expect to uncover:

  • Carrier switching intention among customers of AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon
  • If Apple and Samsung owners intend to upgrade or switch their devices
  • Whether customers are satisfied with and if they would recommend their current carrier
  • What makes consumers who are looking to upgrade their phone different from the overall population

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