Tag: Market Research

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The Future of the Android-IOS Competition

  • July 21, 2022

  • Eyes4Research

In the last ten years, smartphones have become an ubiquitous part of most people’s
lives. We use them not only to communicate but also to browse the web, shop, play
games, and invest, among hundreds of other uses. And since smartphones are
computers, their operating systems have become a key, if not the most important
component in the success of phone companies and service providers. When the
smartphone revolution began in the late 2000s, there were several mobile phone
operating systems that were poised to potentially corner the market, but today there are
only two: Android and iOS. The future success of these two companies, and whether or
not one will take the lion’s share of the market, will depend on a number of factors, yet
the most important will be which one of these companies better understands the
consumer trends that drive success in the mobile phone sector.

The market growth of smartphones has been phenomenal and although it has slowed a
bit due to the COVID-19 lockdowns and the fact that most people in industrialized
nations now have smartphones, global sales are expected to be more than 1.5 billion
units by 2026, with a compound annual growth rate of 1.69%. The majority of the
market growth will be in the developing world, especially Africa, where the vast pool of
consumers will take advantage of lower prices as the technology advances. But it won’t
just be consumers in the developing world who will benefit from future advances in
smartphone technology, consumers and investors in industrialized countries with
existing and improving infrastructures that facilitate smartphone technology can expect

to benefit from the competition between the Android and iOS if they know what to
expect.

Android and iOS both offer consumers and investors plenty of benefits and will play a
big role in the future of mobile technology, so let’s take a look at how these two systems
came to dominate the market, some of their differences and similarities, and what
consumers can expect in the future. For Google and Apple, which make the Android
and iOS operating systems respectively, it will be important for them to adapt to
emerging consumer and technology trends such as brand loyalty and 5G.

From Mobile Phones to Smartphones

The evolution from cell/mobile phones to smartphones was a much more gradual
process than most people may think, taking place over the course of decades. By
definition, a smartphone is a phone that combines mobile technology with computing,
usually giving the user access to the internet. The earliest devices that would
incorporate smart features with mobile phones were PDA (personal digital
assistant)/mobile phone hybrids released by Nokia, Ericsson, and Kyocera in the mid to
late 1990s. These proto-smartphones were large and clumsy, but most importantly their
operating systems were usually created by the mobile companies, which could make it
difficult for consumers to switch carriers and keep all their data.

The first true smartphones hit the stores with the release of the Windows Mobile phone
in 2000, followed by Blackberry in 2005. The current duopoly of iOS and Android began
when the iPhone was first released on January 9, 2007, which was followed by
Google’s release of the Android operating system on September 23, 2008.

It’s notable that the Windows and Blackberry mobile operating systems have reached
end-of-life, which simply means that users can continue to use the products but there
will be no updates. Although both of these mobile operating systems enjoyed a few
moments in the sun, they were unable to stay current with consumer trends the way
Apple and Android have.

Consumer Drawbacks and Benefits of Android and iOS Compared

It needs to be stressed that the technology discussed here, and the consumer benefits
derived from it, are the operating systems and not necessarily the phones. Since the
iOS system runs on Apple’s proprietary smartphone, they are certainly intertwined, but
Android runs on several different brands of smartphones. This situation can create
benefits and drawbacks for the consumer, and will definitely affect the course of mobile
technology trends.

The most obvious consumer disadvantages associated with iPhone/iOS are the
limitations. Since iPhone and iOS are tied together, consumers have less options to

customize and tweak their phones. And because the iPhone is the only brand that runs
on the iOS system, there are less phones for the consumer to choose from.

Just because restrictions are a drawback for iOS/Apple doesn’t mean that the freedom
of Android is always a benefit for consumers. The level of quality control and
assurances by Apple that its phones and operating system sync well is absent in many
phones that use Android, resulting in a mobile experience that is often slower.

When the two systems are compared for intangibles, the benefits are clearly on the iOS
side. Apple has built a dedicated brand loyalty since the early 2000s, which is due to a
number of factors, including the quality of its products, brand identity, and the
perception that the company listens to consumers. As brand loyalty becomes an
increasingly important part of the retail landscape in the next few years it will be
interesting to see how Android responds. If Android better cultivates its brand identity
and brand loyalty, it could be a major boon to its business.

A final point to consider when these operating systems are compared is their market
share. Although Android leads globally, Apple claimed 23.4% of the market in the fourth
quarter of 2021, which was an increase over the previous quarter. The numbers show
that both Apple/iOS and Android are solid investment opportunities for the future as
neither shows any signs of going the way of Windows Mobile or Blackberry any time
soon.

Future Mobile Operating System Trends

The numbers show that the smartphone market will continue to grow globally as prices
of phones decrease and wages increase. It is expected that by 2026 the number of
smartphone subscriptions will surpass 7.5 billion, which signals massive profits for
Android and Apple and benefits for consumers. As more people globally buy
smartphones, the prices will decrease and features on the Android and iOS systems will
improve. Although both systems will benefit from the increased global sales, consumers
and investors should take noted that Android and iOS will face the future differently.

Future sales favor Android phones. In Q1 of 2021, Samsung phones sold about 77
million units, while 57 million iPhones were sold in the same quarter. This does not
include the millions of other non-Samsung phones sold at the time that also run on the
Android operating system. It should be pointed out that as mentioned earlier, Android
has controlled the market share for some time and the numbers indicate that this isn’t
going to change any time soon. Despite many of the phones that run on Android being
significantly cheaper than iPhones, which is partially the reason for Android’s control of
the market, consumers often note that they feel Android phones tend to be more
customer friendly and easier to use than the iOS system. For busy people on the go,
this alone can be the difference in a purchase.

Android also appears to be better positioned to take advantage of technological
innovations. Many developers prefer Android because they are more familiar with the
Google development tools, so more and higher quality apps may be available on
Android than iOS in the future.

Finally, how these operating systems handle the transition to 5G should be considered.
The 5G network will offer several benefits to consumers in the future, not the least of
which will be higher speeds for sending and receiving data, and Android and iOS will
both play a role in this evolution. It’s too early to say which system will work better with
5G in the long-term, but so far Android phones appear to have the edge with more
battery life.

Android, iOS, and the Consumer

Overall the average consumer can expect to benefit in the future from the competition
between the Android and iOS mobile operating systems. The competition should bring
down prices and spur new innovations that will make the mobile experience more
intuitive and enjoyable. As these two companies learn more about their customers and
what they want, we can expect even more changes. The overall numbers and some
other trends favor Android, while iOS clearly has more brand loyalty, but both systems
should be around for quite some time.

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The Omnichannel Revolution

  • June 22, 2022

  • Eyes4Research

The retail landscape is constantly evolving and adapting to new technologies, ideas, and trends. As companies and brands attempt to navigate their ways through this constantly changing environment, new tools, such as omnichannel marketing, have been created to find success. Omnichannel marketing presents companies with great potential and opportunities for success, but that success, and how this unique form of
marketing is properly utilized, depends on how well companies connect with their consumers, and in turn the quality of the experience consumers receive.

Many business insiders and economists have claimed that omnichannel marketing is the future of retail business and that brands that don’t adapt to it are doomed to fail, but the term itself is often intimidating and often misunderstood. So, let’s first define this term before moving on to examine its history and the role it will play in the future of business.

A channel is anything that creates interface between a company and its customers. There are physical/offline channels, which can include print, signs, radio, and television. Digital channels include any internet marketing and interface, such as websites and social media. “Omni” refers to something that is all encompassing and all-around – think omniscient, omnipresent, or omnipotent. When these are combined, you get
omnichannel, which is a form of marketing that caters to the customer by providing experiences across all channels.

The channels are integrated to make the consumer’s experiences as user friendly, cost efficient, and enjoyable as possible.

As omnichannel marketing becomes more prevalent, the companies that know how to utilize it in concert with other emerging trends will find success. The most successful brands will merge their online and brick-and-mortar shopping to create an experience that consumers will remember. New technologies will also play a role in the omnichannel revolution, especially in regards to data collection, personalized marketing, and inventory management.

Finally, brand identity, which is an important part of the current retail landscape itself, will play a major role in the future of omnichannel marketing.

From Multichannel to Omnichannel

In order to understand the background of the omnichannel marketing concept you have to go back to the 1990s when ecommerce was first taking off under Amazon and similar companies. Amazon was one of the first companies to develop multichannel marketing, which wasn’t truly omnichannel marketing, but it did prove to be its predecessor. Although multi and omnichannel may sound alike, and they do share some similarities, they also have some notable differences.

Multichannel marketing uses many channels (multi) in the marketing process, but it generally deals with each channel separately, while omnichannel marketing considers the many, often non-linear, steps a consumer takes on the journey to buy products.

The multichannel process has also been described as “siloed” versus omnichannel’s process being more horizontal, and most importantly, consumer-centric. Owing to its name, consumers have multiple channels they can utilize at any time and aren’t restricted in a linear path.

Studies have shown how important multi and omnichannel marketing are, and that they are the future of the retail industry. One study found that 71% of consumers thought it was important to have the ability to view local inventory information for an item online, but the same study indicated that 65% of shoppers preferred to do so in person. This indicates that although technology is now a major part of the consumer experience, most people still like to have options. With that in mind, let’s see how an omnichannel process might work.

The process could begin with you surfing social media where you see a post for a sale at a local shoe store. You visit the store’s website where you learn that certain shoes are available for 25% off with a coupon you can either download as a QR code on your phone or print out from your desktop to buy in-store, or you can have it delivered to your home for a 15% discount. You elect to print a paper coupon for the 25% discount, but are given the option to schedule a time for pickup. When you arrive at the store to buy your shoes, you pick them up at a kiosk that is clearly mark for pickups. The entire process involved many different channels, with several different options along the way. Although omnichannel marketing may seem random at first glance, it’s actually driven by the data to appeal to consumers in the most personalized way possible.

Follow the Data

For any company to carry out a successful omnichannel marketing campaign, it needs to do so in a multi-step process. The first step involves compiling data that helps the company determine how its customers are, and once that’s done they can be segmented into groups that allows the company to understand their path to purchase.

Segmenting consumers may sound cold and unfeeling, but if done properly the opposite is actually the result. Proper customer segmentation helps make a company’s inventory levels more accurate, which ultimately leads to a better customer experience. When companies decide the specific customers to target, consumers will feel a stronger personal connection with the company and develop a brand loyalty, which will continue if the company continues to utilize omnichannel marketing.

Although omnichannel marketing is relatively new, there are some brands that have successfully utilized it that can provide examples.

Omnichannel Success

Because omnichannel is so new, there haven’t been many scholarly studies on the numbers, but there are some examples we can examine beginning with Swedish furniture giant IKEA. IKEA opened in 1943 as a brick-and-mortar store, eventually becoming a globally popular brand and is now at the cutting edge of the omnichannel revolution.

In addition to its brick-and-mortar stores, IKEA offers its customers an online shopping interactive shopping catalog to use, a virtual assistant web application, a gift registry app, a planning tool, and a strong social media presence. Most importantly, though, all of IKEA’s channels are synced, allowing for customers to know how to find what they’re looking for. For example, the website will show where physical stores have items that are in or out of stock.

Another established brand that’s at the vanguard of the omnichannel revolution is Apple. Building on their established brand identity and brand loyalty, Apple has tapped into omnichannel marketing by maintaining and integrating its physical and web presence. Customers can set up appointments to meet with a tech or agent at a store via the mobile app, which then lets them know when the tech or agent is available.
Customers can also place orders on the website or mobile app and set up an appointment to pick up their item at a physical store. Apple also promotes its brand across a number of different media, online and offline.

The Future of Omnichannel Marketing

Experts believe that omnichannel marketing is in its infancy and that as technology continues to develop, so too will omnichannel. Every time a person clicks on a website and every time they use an app, it’s recorded and will be utilized by companies that are competent in omnichannel marketing. And emerging technologies are sure to play an even bigger role in omnichannel marketing.

Artificial intelligence (AI) will likely play a major role in the future of omnichannel marketing in a number of ways. Algorithms can be created and used to predict customer choices. Facial recognition can also be utilized to provide a number of benefits as well. For example, cameras will scan the faces of every customer entering a store and the AI will then find matches of loyal customers. Those customers can then be sent alerts or offers via text message or app while they’re in the store, ready to make a purchase.

The Omnichannel Revolution and the Consumer

The omnichannel marketing revolution has the potential to be beneficial for companies and consumers. It’s a fact that in today’s retail world the most successful companies are those that understand their customers and know what they want. Omnichannel marketing is unique because it allows brands to connect directly with their customers, retain them and maximize their lifetime value through a variety of channels, while providing the customer with a quality experience. The technology and consumer trends indicate that the most successful retail companies in the future will be those that stay ahead of the omnichannel marketing curve.

About The Author

Rudly Raphael is the Founder and CEO of Eyes4Research, a Chicago-based research and data collection firm that specializes in quantitative and qualitative research solutions. Rudly has more than 15 years of experience in the market research industry, implementing primary and secondary research for a number of high profile clients. He’s a frequent blogger and has published a number of articles in various online journals, magazines, and other publications.

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It’s What You Hear: The Rise of Sonic Branding

  • May 24, 2022

  • Eyes4Research

Advances in marketing have gone hand-in-hand with advances in technology, which has created both challenges and opportunities for businesses. As companies realize that branding is vital to their success, because it connects them to their customers in a personalized way, they have also discovered that some technologies and methods are more useful than others. The idea of sonic branding is one such method that has allowed companies to connect better with their customers and expand their brands. How well a company utilizes sonic branding, though, is contingent upon many factors, not the least of which is how well brands understand their customers.

Sonic branding, which is sometimes referred to as “audio branding,” refers to any sound, audio cue, or jingle associated with a brand. The most successful brands today understand the importance and nuances of sonic branding and how to properly use it. A recent study by Visa found that 81% consumers had a more “positive perception” of brands that use sound or animation cues. Although the basics of this are simple, there’s a science behind it, and unfortunately many companies are not taking advantage of it.

Sonic branding has existed to a certain extent for about 100 years, but the current technology wave offers new opportunities for brands. So let’s take a look at the background and history of sonic branding, why it’s so important today, a few brands that effectively utilize it, and some potential future trends.

Old Meets New

The concept of sonic branding isn’t particularly complicated, nor is it very new. Sonic branding does, though, require the use of recording devices so its use in history has been limited in that respect. When radios became affordable and widespread in the 1920s, sonic branding soon followed with simple jingles and toons. By the time televisions became an ubiquitous part of American homes in the late 1950s, sonic branding had entered a new and slightly more complex phase. The repetition of certain jingles began “sticking” in consumers minds, causing them to identify with certain brands. The Rice-A-Roni jingle is one of these early examples, but there are many more.

The evolution from radio to TV was accompanied by an audio marketing shift from simple jingles to more targeting branding. The jingles remained, but they were added to, arranged differently in different contexts, and essentially given a life of their own.

Perhaps no other brand represents this shift from simple jingles to sonic branding more than United Airlines. In 1980, United began a sonic branding campaign to the tune of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” Most customers probably didn’t immediately notice it, but by the 1990s – after United had used several different versions of the tune in commercials as well as in physical places they control, such as in airport terminals – the tune was an easily identifiable part of United’s brand. United demonstrated the importance of sonic branding, and before long other companies followed.

The Importance of Sonic Branding Today

So, it should be clear that sonic branding goes hand-in-hand with technology, which means that as our society becomes more technology driven and dependent on technology, it will continue to grow in importance. Although sonic branding has technically been around for 100 years, people now have nearly constant access to audio devices, expanding the reach of sonic branding. Presently, half of television and video is consumed through mobile devices, and this number is expected to grow.

Brands that effectively utilize sonic branding will not only recognize this trend, but learn how to use in a way that connects them with their customers. Two of the ways brands will do this are through sonic signatures and smart speakers.

A sonic signature is a particular tool or subset of sonic branding that involves just a few notes that are repeated in the same, recognizable way as a confirmation of an action. For example, when you boot your computer you hear the familiar Apple ring, or when you turn your phone on your greeted by the T-Mobile jingle. These and many more examples of sonic signatures can be fully realized with smart speakers.

Smart speakers, such as the Amazon Echo and the Google Nest, are growing in use and offer an opportunity for brands to gain more loyalty. According Mastercard CMO and author of Quantum Marketing, Raja Rajamannar, 25% of American households already have smart speakers and more will soon follow. Smart speakers will be increasingly used to reinforce brand identity through repeated sonic signatures.

But signatures and speakers are just a part of the future of sonic branding. In order to be successful with sonic branding, companies will have to bring the signatures together with the technology to create an experience the consumer will remember. As Rajamannar points out, Mastercard’s own sonic branding includes a “comprehensive sound architecture” that takes the consumer experience into consideration.

Successful Sonic Branding Examples

There are several examples of brands successfully utilizing this 21st century version of sonic branding, so much so that most people don’t consciously realize it. And it’s that unconscious nature of how sonic branding works that makes it so successful. We hear examples of this type of branding daily, throughout the day, which influences our spending patterns and brand loyalty. For example, there’s McDonald’s 2003 “I’m lovin it” jingle, which seems much older to most people. Insurance companies have also recently gone all-in with sonic branding, with Nationwide, State Farm, and Liberty Mutual all creating jingles and sonic signatures that are associated with their brands.

Because sonic branding is a tech based branding tool, it stands to reason that tech companies have embraced it fully. The catchy and noticeable T-Mobile jingle was mentioned earlier, but additionally there are the HP, Apple, and Dell signatures when you start your computer. But few tech companies have invested more in sonic branding than Netflix. In 2020, Netflix hired legendary composer Hans Zimmer to refine their sonic signature, giving their brand a new connection with their existing customers as well as a tool to recruit new customers.

To Use Sonic Branding or Not?

Companies are truly benefiting from using sonic branding, and marketing companies now exist that focus solely on sonic branding, but is it a good fit for every brand? If a brand uses recorded audio, podcasts, vlogs, or even telemarketing where customers are placed on hold, then they need to develop a sonic branding campaign. The reality is that today, with the way music, sound, and visuals are routinely combined in an array of forms and dispersed through a variety of devices, almost any company will benefit from sonic branding.

Sonic Branding and the Consumer

Sonic branding has many potential benefits for companies and consumers if it’s done correctly. The most successful brands today are those that know the consumer and build a strong relationship with their customers. Sonic branding represents a new frontier in marketing because it combines modern technology and trends with psychology in the form of jingles and signatures to create a “sound architecture.” When the association between sound and brand is automatic and unconscious, the full potential of sonic branding is being realized.

About The Author

Rudly Raphael is the Founder and CEO of Eyes4Research, a Chicago-based research and data collection firm that specializes in quantitative and qualitative research solutions. Rudly has more than 15 years of experience in the market research industry, implementing primary and secondary research for a number of high profile clients. He’s a frequent blogger and has published a number of articles in various online journals, magazines, and other publications.

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