2011 – Customers view of Smart Phones

This analysis is based on 82,620 customer reviews of 318 smart phones published online by December 15th 2011.

To insure statistical representation and accuracy of results, we have focused on 42 smart phones that were reviewed at least 100 times this year. That may mean that some phones that were introduced toward the end of the year did not qualify for this report.

We have studied before the correlation between number of reviews published online and a number of units shipped, and therefore found it important to use it for comparison.

The most customer-reviewed phones of 2011 are HTC Thunderbolt (5,579), Apple iPhone 4-16GB (4,106) and LG Ally (2,514).

Customer Feedback analysis


HTC got a hold on the position of the most reviewed brand in the smart phones category largely based on popularity of the Thunderbolt.

HTC Thunderbolt


The customer’s enthusiasm for Android smart phones and the availability of a large number of models from multiple brands produced very unbalanced distribution of  reviews (75%).  Android capured 75%


However, the Android OS enthusiasm did not translate into customer satisfaction lead as Windows phone customers’ expectations were exceeded by their experience with a wider margin. One of the possible reasons is the relatively weaker support of Android by the developer’s community that translates into the availability of applications.

It appears that Nokia’s decision to migrate their phones to Window OS is a wise one considering Symbian satisfaction scores.

Our Market Intelligence Analysis of the smart phone segment indicates that the following Attributes of customer experience are most important to them:

  1. Reliability – 14.76% of all opinions expressed
  2. Usability – 7.23% of all opinions expressed
  3. Battery Life – 6.42% of all opinions expressed
  4. Display – 5.82% of all opinions expressed
  5. Camera & Video – 4.91% of all opinions expressed
  6. Reception/Call Quality – 2.57% of all opinions expressed
  7. Customer Support – 2.27% of all opinions expressed
  8. Keyboard – 2.27% of all opinions expressed
  9. Design (style) – 1.57% of all opinions expressed
  10. Price – 1.23% of all opinions expressed
  11. Music Player – 1.00% of all opinions expressed


In terms of overall satisfaction, Blackberry Style 9670 has earned the top customer satisfaction rating (1.60) and HTC Rhyme (1.59) came within a statistical tie, while Motorola Citrus (0.72) and Droid 2 Global (0.82) are on the very bottom of the list.

To get more specific insights into the dynamics of the smart phone customer perceptions, we sampled a market segment by analyzing the most experienced (i.e., most reviewed) models representing different operating systems. We picked the models that are close to each other in a number of customer reports to make it more comparable.

  1. Apple iPhone 4S – 542 customers
  2. Blackberry Torch 9800 – 550 customers
  3. HTC Trophy – 236 customers
  4. Nokia N8 – 523 customers
  5. Samsung Continuum Galaxy S – 444 customers


iPhone. Balckberry, Nokia, Samsung


More details and customer feedback verbatim are available via access to the dynamic dashboard for this segment on request.

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13 Responses to 2011 – Customers view of Smart Phones

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  3. Rishi Kudale says:

    Hi Gregory,

    This is indeed very interesting analysis.

    I’d appreciate if you could share correlation established between number of reviews and the number of units shipped.

    Also I’d like to know if the scope for this study was any specific market or it is at the global level. Looking at tablet reviews and shipment correlation article, I assume it’s worldwide.


  4. Gregory says:

    Hello Rishi,

    Thank you for kind words.

    For a long time I was interested in the correlation between numbers of products (units) sold and numbers of customer reviews for the product posted online and in March of the last year I have attempted to connect those dots. At that time our aggregation algorithms found 1,299 customer reviews for Apple iPad and 294 customer reviews for Samsung Galaxy Tab. Average effectiveness of our algorithms was measured at 87%, in other words they find on average 87 online customer reviews out of 100 that can be found by a skilled, internet savvy research analyst. By applying 13% correction to the number of customer reviews found, and dividing the result by a number of iPads sold we can estimate that Apple had to sell just over 10,000 units to generate just 1 customer review (10,151). The calculations of these ratios for Samsung Galaxy Tab and other Consumer Electronics products produce very consistent results averaging around 0.014%. I did a similar analysis for flat screen TV products a few months ago.

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  8. thomas says:

    the data does not support the conlusion that “it appears Nokia’s decision to migrate their phones to Window OS is a wise one considering Symbian satisfaction scores”. This is because the conclusion does not take into account the Meego/Qt strategy, which was well on its way and abandoned in favour of Microsoft’s OS. The data however supports the conclusion that existing Symbian users were not as satisfied as existing iOS, Android and Windows phone users, in case the difference is statistically significant (p < .05 or .01).

    The data would have been even more interesting, had it included satisfaction scores for Nokia N9 (Meego/Harmattan) compared with Nokia Lumia (WP7); two almost identical phones, but different OS. THAT is a comparison that could give data to the discussion about the wiseness of abandoning the Meego/Qt strategy in favour of Microsoft's OS.

  9. Rishi Kudale says:

    Hi Gregory,

    Thanks for your detailed explanation. I really appreciate your prompt response.

    1. It’d be really interesting to reveal any linkages in between # of reviews and units shipment – it could be brand engagement or satisfaction (pre-purchase satisfaction from word of mouth?).

    If relation between these stages could be identified, I’m sure companies will start making dynamic production plans based on these numbers, cutting down losses of product failures.

    But categories for which such analysis can be done are limited at this point in time. Consumer has to be evolved to go online and get involved in online discussions.

    2. Also once importance of each attribute is identified (basis % of all topics discussed), satisfaction on each of these attribute could play different role in final decision of product purchase.

    If customers are most satisfied with attributes which were least important to them or vice-verse – brand equity scores or product sale figures could be entirely different.

    Please share your thoughts on the same.

    Thanks again.


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  11. Gregory says:


    You make an excellent point and comparison of customer satisfaction with Nokia phones you suggest would indeed make an interesting target for a study.

  12. Gregory says:

    Hello Rishi,

    1. In the context of smart phones category the correlation between # of reviews and units sold, as oppose to units shipped, is not difficult to establish, if you have access to a company data. We a have done such work for some of our clients. Other product categories have less certain links, but they can also be established based on consistency of ratios estimated. Customers willingness to share their experiences in public forum has grown dramatically in the last few years, however public reviews sites are not the only source of such data. We like to use holistic approach to source data aggregation that includes clients private sources in addition to publicly available ones.

    2. The importance of attributes and satisfaction measurements with them, are two dimensions measuring a specific attribute. The use of this information for sales forecasting requires a comparative set of data – i.e. a market segment measurements – people buy products they don’t like if better alternatives are not available. Brand equity scoring require much wider units of measurement than those extracted on a product level IMO, because of number and variety of products that can be rolled into a brand.

  13. Rishi Kudale says:

    Thanks Gregory for clarifying.

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