Beyond specifications and features, it seems that Apple has a hidden advantage over Samsung in the cutthroat smartphone industry — customer loyalty.

The results of the new survey are very significant at this time, especially as Apple is believed to be preparing to unveil three new iPhone models in September.

Apple Beats Samsung In Customer Loyalty

According to a survey conducted by AlphaWise, 92 percent of current iPhone owners are "somewhat or extremely likely" to purchase a new iPhone as an upgrade over the next 12 months.

The results, reported in a research note by Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty, revealed that Apple has a wide margin in terms of customer loyalty compared to other smartphone manufacturers. Only 77 percent of current Samsung smartphone owners will likely stick with the brand for their next purchase, and only 59 percent for LG, 56 percent for Motorola, and 42 percent for Nokia.

The extremely high loyalty rate for Apple customers is an increase from the 86 percent score that the survey reported last year. It is also the highest retention rate for iPhone customers ever recorded by Morgan Stanley since the record high of 93 percent from September 2015, when Apple launched the iPhone 6s.

The survey was conducted in April among 1,000 smartphone owners in the United States with ages of 18 years old and above. Its results were part of the reason why Morgan Stanley analysts increased the price target for Apple stock from $161 to $177, with the analysts expecting even more positive estimate revisions over the next two quarters.

Apple Prepares To Launch Three New iPhone Models

The significant increase in brand loyalty among iPhone owners comes as the expected September announcement of three new iPhone models draws nearer. Apple customer loyalty also increased despite the launch of Samsung's latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S8.

The incredibly strong customer loyalty enjoyed by Apple coincides with the decrease in iPhone units sold in the company's fiscal second quarter. Apple partly attributed the lower number of iPhones sold to customers who are waiting for the next model to see what upgrades the iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus, or premium iPhone 8 will offer. According to the survey results, iPhone owners are doing just that — holding back on buying new iPhones for now with the intention of acquiring the new models once they are released.

iPhone 8 Rumors

While the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus are expected to offer better experiences from their predecessors, most of the excitement surrounding the future iPhones revolves around the premium iPhone 8.

The iPhone 8 is rumored to feature an edge-to-edge OLED display with no physical home button, a dual camera set-up at the back, and other advanced features. A recently released iPhone 8 render revealed a device that may make rivals concerned.

The iPhone 8 will likely not come cheap though, as reports claim that its price will start at $1,000 for a 128 GB model. The elevated price is expected though, as the smartphone will be built with premium components. There may be concerns that customers may not buy a $1,000 iPhone, but the AlphaWise survey seemingly reveals that Apple fans are prepared for it.

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