Mobility

86% of smartphone users would still buy a Samsung phone, despite Note7 disaster

Despite the public failure of the Galaxy Note7, a new survey found that most customers say they will remain loyal to the brand in future smartphone purchases.

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Image: CNET

Samsung fans remain undeterred from purchasing the company's smartphones in the future, even after the Galaxy Note7's two recalls due to batteries catching fire, according to a survey of 500 US smartphone owners from ReportLinker.

Some 60% of respondents said they had a negative attitude toward Samsung's handling of the Note7 debacle. But, when asked "Next time you upgrade your smartphone, to what extent would you consider Samsung?," 86% of respondents said they were likely to consider Samsung.

This is an encouraging sign for Samsung, as it has already announced plans to release a Galaxy Note8 phone in 2017, quashing rumors that the line would be discontinued. The company will offer a 50% monthly discount for South Korean users who exchanged their Note7 for a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge.

For those not familiar, here is a quick timeline of the rise and fall of the Galaxy Note7: The flagship Samsung smartphone was released in August 2016, and received top reviews from enterprise users. In the coming weeks, several Note7 owners in Korea and the US reported that the phone's batteries ignited while charging. Samsung recalled the phones in September, and issued replacements. However, even the new phones had overheating issues. In October, Samsung halted sales and production of the phones. The Note7 is currently banned on most major airlines and train lines.

SEE: How to get a refund for a Samsung Galaxy Note7

"I think people buy the explanation that there was a manufacturing issue, and it will be fixed in the next phone," said Jacob Sharony, principal consultant at Mobius Consulting. "It's the first major issue Samsung has seen. But it cannot happen again."

The survey's results mirror the reaction from the business world. We recently polled the TechRepublic CIO Jury, asking a panel of IT leaders, "Does the failure of the Galaxy Note7 make you question integrating Samsung products into the enterprise?" Ten out of 12 tech executives—roughly 83%— answered "No."

For some, the continued trust was due to the fact that several other tech companies have experienced setbacks and recalls. "Samsung appears to be responding to the issue, it's rare in its occurrence, and not with all models," said Dan Gallivan, director of information technology at Payette. "I still trust using their products."

Sharony agreed: The lithium ion found in modern cell phone batteries is flammable, he said. While the Samsung issue was due to manufacturing, other brands of phones have caught on fire when the plastic insulator has punctured after being bent.

"It's happened before," Sharony said. "The problem with Samsung is it happened in the first month, to about 100 phones, and people became worried." However, the number of impacted phones was still a fraction of the 2.5 million Note7s shipped, Sharony said.

Many business users still refuse to turn in their Note7s due to its features and quality of design.

In the wake of the Note7 recall, Samsung's third quarter profits dropped 96%, to $88 million. However, company representatives said that they expect overall earnings to improve in the fourth quarter over last year's profits, based on revenue from Samsung's chip and display businesses.

Of the 14% of survey respondents who said they were unlikely to think about purchasing a Samsung phone, 50% said they would likely switch to Apple. Some 21% said they would switch to LG, and 18% said they would switch to Google.

The fact that Google is already considered a player in the smartphone game bodes well for the company, given the recent release of the Google Pixel phone and Google's general push toward hardware. However, unlike Samsung, Google has many hurdles to overcome before its hardware is widely trusted in the enterprise.

The vast majority—84%—of Americans reported that they are confident in the safety of their smartphones in general, the survey found.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Despite the disastrous rollout and recall of the Samsung Galaxy Note7 phone, 86% of smartphone users said they would still consider purchasing a Samsung phone, according to a new survey from ReportLinker.
  2. These findings match those in the business world, as most tech leaders said they also still trust Samsung products in the enterprise, according to TechRepublic's CIO Jury.
  3. Samsung expects to recover lost revenue from the Note7s in Q4. Experts said the company will likely recover its reputation as well, so long as this kind of problem does not happen again.

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About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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